The first-ever mid-March hockey tournament started on Saturday with a 1 p.m. match-up between the Lizard Heads and Durango Liquor World. Telluride struck first with a goal by Nate Soules on a nice feed from Teddy Errico, for a 1-0 lead. Bobby Murphy then set up Mike Fenton for a power play goal to increase the first period lead to 2-0. In the second, Errico outfought a Durango defender to make it a 3-0 lead. Durango broke through in the third to cut the deficit to 3-1, but the Telluride goalie stood tall to put a stop to any hopes of a Durango comeback.
"It was one of the better games we played and a great way to start the tourney," said Lizard Head team captain Errico. "Our defense was solid."
In game two of the tournament, the Crested Butte Storm defeated the Crested Butte Powder Pigs, 6-3. In game three, Durango Liquor World recorded their first win with a 9-2 victory over the Storm.
Telluride returned to the ice Saturday night against bitter rivals, the CB Pigs. The Pigs broke through with an early goal but Jay Harrington tipped in a power play goal to knot the score at 1-1 at the end of the first period. Rick Hurwitz then tapped in an Errico rebound for a 2-1 lead and another power play goal. Telluride hung on briefly to this lead, but got outworked and out-hustled in the final period as the Pigs came back for a 3-2 victory.
"It was as good as I've seen the Pigs play," said Telluride goalie Chris Neylan following the Lizard Head loss.
"Next year it's time to have real practices," lamented Lizard Head Mike McIntire. "We just need to go over fundamental hockey so we are all on the same page."
The outcome of Saturday's line-up made for an exciting ending to the Telluride tourney on Sunday, as each team went into the final day with one victory and one loss. The first game matched up the Lizard Heads and the Storm. The teams battled to a 0-0 tie after period one, but the Storm quickly opened up a 2-0 lead in the second. A Fenton goal cut the lead to 2-1, but the Storm added a third goal with five minutes left in the game and never relinquished the lead to claim a 4-1 victory.
"It was disappointing to not be in the finals at our tourney, but overall I thought we played pretty well," said Errico. "We just didn't bury the puck in the net when we had the chances."
The next game of the weekend was a high scoring 6-6 tie between the Pigs and Durango. A tiebreaker allowed Durango to advance to the finals, where Durango Liquor World took the Storm to the cleaners with a 9-2 win, claiming the championship.
"I cannot for the life of me explain how we beat the champs 3-1, and lost the other two games…I guess it's better luck next year and get out the golf clubs!" a disappointed Errico said.
1. Durango: 2-1-1
2. Storm: 2-2
3. Pigs: 1-1-1
4. Telluride: 1-2