With nearly half of their regular season complete the Steamboat Wranglers (15-4-0-0) are looking down at the other teams of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League, currently 12 points in front of second place Pikes Peak Miners. With the Miners idle over the weekend Steamboat extended their lead in the standings with a two game sweep of host Colorado Rampage.
Traveling to Monument has been no easy task so far this season for opponents of the Rampage who were 3-2-1 at home coming in. The Wranglers found themselves trailing early on Friday night after a power play goal scored by Braden Cooper at 7:25. That is the way the opening period would end.
Steamboat battled back in the second and were rewarded with goals from Nico Hemming and Grant Longtin to take a 2-1 advantage. The final 25 minutes of the game though would be a showcase of goaltenders with Blue Hildebrand stopping 27 of 28 shots for the Wranglers to earn the victory. Noah Vanderback made 28 saves in a losing effort.
The teams met again the following afternoon with the host again scoring first on a Brenden Polaski tally at 14:58 of the first. Eric Matheson would make it 2-0 Rampage at 11:01 of the second before the Wranglers would start a climb back into the game.
Nevada White scored just :25 after the Matheson goal to get Steamboat back in the game. Then a power play snipe by Jack Coon late in the second frame tied it at 2-2.
With momentum completely swung the Wranglers didn't take long to take a lead. Andrew DeMorat scored what would be the game winner 1:36 into the final frame. Then a pair of goals (Longtin and White) scored just :21 apart sealed it for the visitors.
Goalie Michael Bachofner Binder would earn his second victory in as many starts making 25 saves for Steamboat, winners of their last 11 games. With a bye week in front of them the Wranglers can now watch their rivals before returning to action against the Colorado Thunderbirds on December 15-16.
Next week in the RMJHL features just one three-game set with Pikes Peak playing host to the Breckenridge Bolts.