The Beavers upheld their determined momentum in the early stages of the annual Craig women's tournament. In their first match against the Steamboat Springs Edge on Friday night, Tiffany Lyga initiated Telluride's early command by sinking a puck fired from the blue line into the other team's net. Fellow leading lady Elisabeth Gaz nailed another goal, assisting in the team's first shut-out victory over Steamboat, 2-0.
The infamous Durango Betties, a team mired in controversy since dividing the once-friendly Durango women's hockey team into two warring squads, was next in line for the Beavers' fury. Two first-period goals from Telluride's Alexa Warren and Sheila Farny put the Betties into a tailspin from which the typically tough-playing team couldn't escape.
"They're not used to being behind, so that was huge for us," said team manager Mo Hanna of her team's Saturday morning win over the Betties.
Two more Telluride goals made for a comfortable, 4-0 lead as the final minutes of the game approached. A fluke goal scored by defense woman Hanna on her own team's net in the last 30 seconds of the game thwarted Telluride's chances of another shut-out, but was otherwise inconsequential for the Beavers, leaving the final score at 4-1.
Another 4-1 Telluride victory against the Denver team on Saturday night assured the Beavers a spot in Sunday's finals.
Boasting a 3-0 tournament record and leading their bracket, Telluride met Crested Butte (who also advanced to the finals with an undefeated 3-0 tournament record) Sunday morning for the championship game.
The Beavers came out hard in the first period, but it was ultimately the Red Ladies who were first to strike, drawing Beaver blood with a goal in the second period.
"It's so much a case of who scores first when we play Crested Butte," Hanna explained.
With two minutes left in the final game, the Beavers pulled their goalie and assembled a massive, last-ditch offensive effort. Six Beavers lambasted the Crested Butte goal for the full 120 seconds, but as Hanna described, the team simply couldn't find a path into the the Red Lady net.
"We were just hammering them with shots, but we couldn't buy a goal at that point. The puck would hit the post, or deflect off the goalie and fly out of the net… We easily could have tied it up, but unfortunately we didn't," said Hanna.
Although the Beavers ultimately fell to their ever-cutthroat Red Lady rivals, the weekend was in essence a spectacular showing of Telluride's spirit, with the Beaver's goalies Barbara Kondracki and Carmen Marble taking turns standing in the net for the goalie-less Durango Fury team throughout the weekend.
"That was well above what they needed or were expected to do," Hanna said, "but they both played great." In fact, Hanna said, "It was great goal tending that kept us right where we needed to be throughout the weekend."
And despite taking second in the tournament, Telluride's fun-loving Beavers did take home top honors for the tournament's Saturday-night costume contest, thanks in great part to player Elyse Rothschild's extensive disco costume closet.
"So we only took second in the tournament we won the party, which is more important, really," Hanna joked.
The Beavers will have their chance at a Red Lady rematch this weekend, as Crested Butte travels to Telluride for two games, Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m., both at Hanley Rink.