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Opening weekend goes Steamboat way

By Scott Ludwig, 10/01/17, 10:05AM MDT

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The Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League began its third season this weekend in Steamboat Springs. Five teams are set to compete for a championship including the host Steamboat Wranglers.

A second year team, the Wranglers nearly captured the title last season falling in Game 3 of the best-of three finals against the Pikes Peak Miners. Those teams met again on Saturday with the home team doubling up the visitors 4-2.

Opening the season on Friday Steamboat welcomed the Colorado Rampage to Howelsen Ice Arena with a not-so-friendly 7-1 thrashing in a game that ended with 101 penalty minutes combined.

Joel Rothman scored the first goal of the season before Sebastian Culver made it 2-0 before intermission. Two more Steamboat goals (from Nicolas Hemming and Rothman) in the second frame made it 4-0 just 26 minutes into the season.Photo courtesy of Steamboat Wranglers

In the third period the Rampage ran out of gas managing just one shot on net, a goal scored by Billy Johnson, while Steamboat added three goals of their own to seal their opening night victory.

In the 2017 finals rematch against Pikes Peak, who would strike first when Spencer Rowlette found the back of the net at 15:27 of the first, momentum would swing in the second when John Coon and Rothman goals would give the Wranglers a 3-1 advantage. A late period goal by Ian Zaleski kept the Miners in the game despite being outshot 10-3 in the frame.

Coon would score his second goal of the game in the third, the only tally of the period, despite the Miners putting 12 shots on netminder Cole Kohut (22 saves).

Playing all 120 minutes Kohut stopped 44 of 47 shots in the two games posting an impressive .936 save%. Miners goalie Jimmy Groslaus made 30 saves in a losing effort.

Upcoming games

Friday, October 6

  • Colorado Thunderbirds at Colorado Rampage, 7:45 PM
  • Pikes Peak Miners at Steamboat Wranglers, 8 PM

Saturday, October 7

  • Pikes Peak Miners at Steamboat Wranglers, 7 PM
  • Colorado Thunderbirds at Colorado Rampage, 8 PM

Sunday, October 8

  • Colorado Thunderbirds at Colorado Rampage, 12:30 PM