Tigers stun Standley with 4 straight goals
BRECKENRIDGE – All season the Summit High School hockey team waited for a defining victory. After securing enough near-misses to fill one heck of a bittersweet scrap book, the Tigers finally got their superlative moment on Friday.Summit stormed back from a 4-2 third-period deficit, scoring the game’s final four goals to hand powerhouse Standley Lake just its fourth loss all season, 6-4 at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena.
Alex Gutierrez buried the game-winner with 2:02 to play, then Jeff Montepare added an empty-netter with 19 seconds left that sent the loyal Summit fans into celebration mode. “That one feels real good. Real good,” SHS coach Bryan Smith said after the game. “That’s exactly what we’ve been doing all year but we finally finished and beat ’em. That’s a big team.”The Tigers improved to 7-11 overall – matching their regular-season win total of last year, when they stunned everyone by advancing to the Frozen Four – and evened their Foothills League mark at 5-5. The visiting Gators dropped to 12-4 and 8-2 in league action.
Summit’s victory was enabled in part by a players-only meeting held earlier this week to air some “animosity,” as Smith put it, that lingered from a 9-1 embarrassment at Aspen last Friday. The result of the meeting proved constructive, even though it didn’t appear that would be the case for much of the game.But with Standley Lake cruising with a two-goal lead, Jan McSparin punched home a rebound off a shot by Scott Noble just 29 seconds into the third period. Noble followed with a goal off an assist from Max O’Neill – whose brother Shamus, a freshman, buried Summit’s first two goals in the second period – and just like that the teams were tied at 4 with 5:47 to play.The late-game heroics soon followed from Gutierrez, who was assisted by Noble when the junior co-captain stole the puck then found his streaking teammate from his knees.
“We’re good at forcing goals when we desperately need them,” explained junior goalie Nick Springer, who made key save after key save down the stretch for the Tigers.Summit also was inspired by a pregame ceremony held to retire the jersey of Jay Katz, a former SHS player who died last spring.With another victory today against Bishop Machebeuf (3:45 p.m. at the Steve) the Tigers would be in line for a solid postseason seed when next week’s playoffs commence.
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