Pikes Peak Miners (9-5-0-0) and Steamboat Wranglers (13-4-0-0) gave the RMJHL teams notice last weekend, each sweeping a two-game set at home over their opponent. Both extended their points total with the idle Colorado Rampage (5-6-1-0) now seven points back of second place Pikes Peak.
Coming off a three-game losing streak at the hands of the Wranglers, Pikes Peak welcomed the Colorado Thunderbirds to Sertich Ice Center. The Miners may have been still thinking about that losing streak as the Thunderbirds led in the Friday game 2-1 after one and 5-3 at second intermission. Matthew Thieleman scored twice to give the visitors confidence heading into the final frame.
In the third period it would be all Pikes Peak though, with Niclas Karup scoring just :58 in to make the score 5-4. Power play goals by <span class="playerLink">Ian Zaleski, Brett Armstrong and Taylor Gatto (his hat trick) were enough to complete the 7-5 comeback victory.</span>
In the second matchup Pikes Peak continued their scoring taking a 4-0 advantage before Joseph Losasso scored the lone T-birds goal late in the second period. Before the game ended Hawkins, Gatto and Lars Culver would score for the Miners to make the final score 7-1.
The red-hot Wranglers welcomed Breckenridge Bolts to Howelsen Ice Arena for the second time this season. By the end of Saturday night Steamboat had four points and extended their win-streak to nine games.
Breckenridge have proved to be a tough opponent in almost every game so far in this first season of competition and the Bolts played that way again. Coming off a bye weekend Breck would find themselves down 4-0 after 26 minutes of play before fighting back. Tanner Caldarola and Gavyn Entzminger would score in a :48 span to cut the deficit in half at the midway point of the game.
A power play tally by Quinny Baker gave Steamboat a 5-2 lead, but the Bolts would not quit scoring twice to make it 5-4 with eight minutes to play. An equalizer couldn't be found this night and the Wranglers, who had a 46-16 shot advantage, added a late goal to make the final 6-4.
The next night played out very similar with Steamboat taking a 3-0 lead on goals from <span class="playerLink">Donny Nordstrom, Sebi Culver and Nicklas Oda. Just like the previous night Entzminger and Caldarola would cut that lead to 3-2 by the midway point of the game.</span>
A comeback wasn't in the works though with Nevada White and Braeden Gillmore scoring in the third to secure the 5-2 victory. Michael Bachofner Binder, who made his first start of the season for Steamboat, stopped 22 of 24 shots while Douglas Wakelyn was far more busy making 40 saves.
It was a rematch of the 2017 RMJHL Finals and the Steamboat Wranglers had revenge on their minds. With a three game series hosted by the defending champion Pikes Peak Miners the Wranglers did get some payback as well as sending a message to the rest of the league - Steamboat is a contender.
Steamboat came ready to go from the drop of the puck in game one pounding Miners goaltender Joseph Chekan with 23 shots in the opening period, scoring twice. Play evened out much of the final 40 minutes with the teams exchanging goals in the second period to lead 3-2. An empty net goal scored by Andrew DeMorat, his second tally of the night, sealed the victory.
The following night saw the home team come out with purpose, scoring twice in the opening frame. The Wranglers would not be denied on this night outshooting Pikes Peak 40-13 in the final two frames. Jarrett Sturtz, Joel Rothman and Hunter Howe each scored as Steamboat would comeback to win 3-2.
Game three saw a worn-out and shorthanded Miners (7-5-0-0) team put up a fight, but Steamboat (11-4-0-0) scored three times in the opening period on their way to a 5-3 victory. Shawn Catudal scored twice for the winners who would put a total of 53 shots on net.
Defending RMJHL champion Pikes Peak Miners are looking like strong contenders again. Last weekend they took a pair from the visiting Colorado Rampage while extending their win streak to five games.
Pikes Peak (7-2-0-0) picked right up where they were their previous game, having a week off from league play. The Miners offense was dangerous in the two-game series against the Rampage (4-6-1-0) outscoring their opponent 18-4.
Game one saw veteran Patrick Alldredge score four times while teammate Brett Hawkins added a pair in an 8-2 win. The following night Alldredge would score another two in a 10-2 thrashing. Jacob May and Ian Zaleski both netted hat tricks, proving the scoring depth of Pikes Peak.
Colorado Thunderbirds (3-6-1-0) stepped up over the weekend sweeping the Breckenridge Bolts (3-5-0-2). The T-birds also snapped a four-game slide while showing some grit by winning on the road.
A hat trick by Jack Cikra in the opening game proved to be the difference in the opening game which ended with a final of 5-3. Joshua Sample made 34 saves earning his first victory of the season.
Sample and his defense played well again the next night holding the Bolts to just 30 shots in a 6-3 win. Cikra scored a pair in the game which saw the Thunderbirds pound 69 shots on net.