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Tigers trounced, bounced from state tournament

Jason Starr

COLORADO SPRINGS – The Summit High School hockey team picked the wrong time for one of its most lopsided losses of the season.

In their first trip to the Colorado High School Hockey League postseason, the Tigers were punished by Kent Denver 8-3 at Sertich Ice Arena, abruptly ending a 6-9-2 season.

The game was not a blowout the whole way. Summit was very much alive at 1-1 in the first period and at 5-3 late in the second. But when the Sun Devils scored 10 seconds after Summit got its only tying goal to make it 2-1, it was clear it was not the night of the Tiger.

That was later confirmed when a Summit penalty and subsequent Kent power-play goal snuffed out a potentially heroic Tigers comeback, making it 6-3 just before the end of period two.

“I’m never one to give up,” said Summit coach Ron Byrne, “but at 5-3, when they got their sixth goal, that hurt. We were right in the game at 5-3”

Eight is the most goals given up all year by standout Summit goaltender Rick Odria, who was clearly off his game. But, Byrne said, the Summit defense was also guilty of breakdowns.

“We just didn’t play defense the way we’ve been able to,” said Byrne. “It was team breakdowns defensively, but they have some good hockey players.”

The Kent offense rarely missed a chance to test Odria, getting a shot off almost every time it was in front of the net. And Summit did the same – although it controlled the puck far less than the Sun Devils did – peppering goalie Will Bernstein from near and far.

Bernstein was rebound-prone, and Summit took advantage of that early when Chris Jocelyn one-timed the rebound of a Ryan Clift shot to tie the score at one. It was one of three assists for Clift on the night.

The other two helped pull Summit from an ugly 5-1 deficit to a manageable 5-3 one toward the end of the second period.

The Tigers got exactly what they needed when Kent was called for two penalties late in the second-period. On the power play, Clift sent a crossing pass to Taylor Janes for a goal. Then Jay Katz scored on a slap shot from the point to make it 5-3.

But minutes later, Summit was called for a trip and Kent converted for the back-breaking goal.

“We did a lot of things really well today,” Byrne said. “The power-play goals were a positive.

“We’re a young, inexperienced team,” he added. “These other schools we’re playing against, they’ve been playing forever.”

Said tri-captain Kenny Thaemert: “I thought we all played our hearts out. I don’t think the score reflected how we played.”

It was not what Thaemert or Summit’s other seven seniors had in mind for their last career high school games.

“It’s rough,” Thaemert said. “We’re on to bigger and better things hopefully, but it’s hard to leave this behind. But we had a good, fun season.”

Steve Cook and Austin Roberts each had two goals for No. 5-seed Kent, which plays No. 4 Bishop Machebeuf in today’s second round.


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