Sometimes, the best goal in a hockey game is not always the one that is remembered.
Sometimes, it’s just the goal that wins the game. For Columbine, that goal is something they would rather forget. With the score tied at 2-2 in the Dec. 20 game, Dakota Ridge took a shot on the Columbine goal and the puck went flying over the head of Rebels’ goalie Michael McCuaig. As McCuaig stuck his gloved hand up in the air, the puck bounced off and landed near the feet of Columbine player, Josh Wright. The puck bounced off what looked to be Wright’s leg and into Columbine’s own net. That unforgettable bounce gave Dakota Ridge a 3-2 Class 5A Foothills League win. “I feel bad for the guy that did it,” McCuaig said. “It was a mistake and mistakes happen. Other than that, I think we played pretty well. Their goalie was really standing on his head there at the end. He kept them in the game.” It was evident that Columbine didn’t want to lose the game to Dakota Ridge on an accidental goal and took shot after shot at Eagles’ goalie, Bobby Willey, who made some impressive saves in the last five minutes of the game. “You could say (that inadvertent goal) was luck because we didn’t play up to our potential in the first and second period,” said Dakota Ridge senior Andrew Clarry, who scored the team’s first goal of the night with 5:32 to play in the first period. “But, for the third period we did come out with more intensity. That (last) goal for us was a fluke, but we’ll take it.” Columbine scored first – just one minute and 13 seconds into the game – as Seth Tillapaugh tapped it easily into the net. With the score tied 1-1 at the end of the first period, Columbine again wasted no time putting one in the net. Senior Corey Kline scored just 1:09 into the second period. Again, the shot seemed to be just a light tap that found its way past Willey. Dakota Ridge answered as Zach Steerman found the net amidst the feet of several defenders. Steerman took a pass from
Zach Thenell and the puck glided in to help the Eagles tie it at 2. “When it was tied, we were still confident about winning,” Steerman said. “We turned it up in the third period and we were just confident that we could do it.” In the past couple of years, the meetings between the two teams ended up with Columbine on top. This year, the Eagles were elated to be the ones to walk off with the victory.
“For the last couple of years we’ve been losing to them in the third period or in overtime,” Steerman explained. “So, it’s good to beat them this time and get that win early in the season.”