Lifestyles: Hockey Champions
Kids on a local hockey team are more confident than ever after their surprising performance in a state hockey tournament.
The Bighorns Hockey Team of the Helena 2 Squirt level is made of first year squirt players. This year was the first time these youngsters had to play on the full length of ice, and deal with additional rules. At first the team struggled mightily with these changes, going winless in their 16 regular season games. But their fortunes finally turned during the state tournament in Missoula, when they won their first game, and tied their second.
Devin Petersen, Bighorns Hockey Player, says, "We had confidence to step up to the plate and put the effort in trying to win the games and we actually got the wish that we wanted."
In the third game the Bighorns were down 3-0 at the end of the second period. They were exhausted and dejected, heads down in the locker room. That's when parent Amber Guge took action.
Guge says, "I just knew I had to do something and so I just made them do some jumping jacks and some pushups. Then we yelled a lot and got them fired up. And they went out, came back, and I couldn't ask for more, they did amazing."
Guge pumped up the team. And they came storming back.
Gavin Thennis, Bighorns Hockey Player, says, "We came back and won 4-3 by playing hard and working as a team."
The players invited Guge back to the locker room for the final 2 games. The Bighorns capped off their Cinderella story with a 7-2 victory over Bozeman in the title game.
Grayson Schroeder, Bighorns Hockey Player, says, "Aggressiveness. It was state so if we won that, we would be first in the state. And now we are."
Head Coach Shawn Schroeder saw his players grow throughout the season. And he says he's proud of his state champions.
Schroeder says, "To watch them kind of do what you told them to do. And everything clicks in their head that all the season paid off. We progressively got better as we went along. And to see it all come together at a state tournament was awesome."
Story by Charlie Misra, Beartooth NBC.
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