Bantam hockey team goes undefeated in Colorado to win tournament

JACKSON, Wyo. – What a way to start the season for the Jackson Hole Bantam A team! The Jackson 14U team went undefeated in Colorado last weekend and were crowned champions of the 2019 Foothills Frightfest tournament in Littleton, Colorado.

Nothing came easy for the Jackson squad of 14 skaters and 2 goalies. Coach Drew Akins said the team had just two practices to prepare for the tournament, and were forced to learn on the ice as the weekend progressed.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of time to work on system things like forecheck, D-zone coverage, and special teams (power play, penalty kill),” Akins said.

“We had to teach ‘em on the go and each game they were better than the last. They are all very coachable. It’s going to be a really fun group of kids who want to learn. They have a positive attitude and are very supportive of each other.”

Jackson started the weekend with a win over New Mexico, 3-2. The Jackson Hole team then slipped by the Wyoming Cutthroats 4-3 and later beat CCYHL Hyland Hills as well before the finals on Sunday.

Jackson then beat another team from Colorado (CCYHL Foothills) 5-1 before a championship game showdown rematch with the Wyoming Cutthroats.

Akins said goaltending kept his team in every game.

“We alternate between Tommy Caruso and Sam Smith, and they both really good. They stood on their heads all weekend. A couple games, early, could have gone the other way had they not made some big saves,” Akins said.

Jackson Hole Bantam A team went 5-0 over last weekend to win the Foothills Frightfest in Colorado. (Steve Sullivan)

Down a goal against the Cutthroats with under a minute to play in regulation, Akins pulled his goalie and the gamble worked. Jackson got the tying goal to take the game to an NHL-style 3-on-3 overtime where play went back and forth for a few tense minutes.

Then, with just 38 seconds left in OT, Angus Miller made a strong play backchecking in his own zone to steal the puck away from an opponent right in front of the net just before he could get a shot off. Miller then found Carter Gosinski streaking up the left wing. Gosinski gained the zone, slammed on the breaks and fed a perfect pass to a wide-open Miller trailing the play late. Miller buried it stick-side for the game-winner. Jackson beat Wyoming 5-4.

Next up for Jackson Hole is a weekend tournament beginning Friday in Park City, Utah called the High Mountain Shootout.

“Hopefully, we’ll carry some of that momentum with us into this weekend,” Akins said. We definitely developed some chemistry last weekend.”

For more information check out the Jackson Youth Hockey website.

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