Sailors’ hockey: “They fought until the end”

Steamboat Springs High School senior Indiana Kretzschmar kept the Sailors competitive in a 4A State Hockey Semifinal game against Cheyenne Mountain on Thursday, March 3 at Magness Arena.
Shelby Reardon / Steamboat Pilot and Today

DENVER — Indiana Kretzschmar, a senior goaltender at Steamboat Springs High School, stopped 19 shots before one finally escaped her.

He was everything the No. 4 Sailors needed him to make a state semifinal against the state’s No. 1-ranked team. Kretzschmar recorded 29 saves on Thursday, March 3, giving the Mariners a chance against Cheyenne Mountain, which won 6-0 to advance to the 4A state title game.

“They were just a really good team,” Kretzschmar said. “I think we played well. I’m happy with the last game of the season. I’m happy for all my team-mates. They fought until the end.”

During the regular season, the Red-tailed Hawks averaged nearly seven goals per game and scored more goals in the first than in any other period. Kretzschmar shut that down.

He saw 12 shots in the first, many of which were high-chance scoring opportunities, including a few breakaways. If he didn’t catch the puck flying towards him, he deflected it up and away from danger.

On the other side of the rink, there was little action as the Sailors only managed two shots in the first period. Kretzschmar continued to gain time, one big save after another.

He even did it using another goalie’s blocker, since he left his home in Steamboat.

“To even be here in the semi-finals, you have to have a good goalkeeper. He’s been so consistent throughout the year,” said Steamboat trainer Brian Ripley. “That first zero-zero period, it was zero-zero because he kept it zero-zero. He kept us in that game. The final scoreline doesn’t reflect his game at all. He was exceptional and he has been all year.

The Hawks wouldn’t be so easily discouraged, however. They kept throwing pucks at the sailor between the pipes. When a puck rang off the post, the sound was music to sailors’ ears, but it also hinted that Cheyenne Mountain was closing in on scoring.

On a power play, Cheyenne Mountain senior Noah Bonnett rounded the puck behind Steamboat’s net. Kretzschmar slid through the crease to meet Bonnett on his right, but Bonnett had stopped behind the net. Before Kretzschmar could stretch to left back, Bonnet squeezed the puck between the post and the sailor’s left foot.

That put a chip in the wall, which crumbled over the next 90 seconds as junior Wyatt Furda and senior Drew Elwell scored to give the Red-Tailed Hawks a 3-0 lead.

“The first one came in, and I was like, ‘not a big deal,'” Kretzschmar said. “Then the next one came, and I feel like the team all around got a bit slower; we got a little tired. … The third period came and the same thing happened. It’s a bit like hockey. Sometimes they put on a bunch very quickly.

Cheyenne Mountain ended up scoring three more in the third, including two within 16 seconds of each other, but Kretzschmar still finished the day with 29 saves. It’s the most shots he’s seen since an early-season loss to Ralston Valley.

The Sailors had just 12 shots on goal against Cheyenne Mountain goaltender Jeremy Renholm. The Red-tailed Hawks’ defense defied every sailor’s move.

“Their defense was sticking to us like glue,” said elder Giovanni Desmussis.

A goal would have been nice, and a win even better, but the sailors were still happy with their performance on Thursday and throughout the season.

“I don’t think people expected us to do what we did,” Desmussis said. “It was good that we did so well this season just because of how last season ended with COVID. Going out and holding on, playing well against all the mountain teams, that was good.

No. 1 Cheyenne Mountain 6, No. 4 Steamboat Springs

SS 0 0 0 – 0

CM 0 3 3 – 6

First period

No score.

Second period

MC – Noah Bonnett, PP, 10:31

CM-Wyatt Furda (Mitchell Lewis), 10:55 a.m.

CM – Drew Elwell (Nick Hallee), 12:13

Third period

CM-Lewis (Furda), 1h25

CM-Furda (Philip Bramble, Lewis), PP, 11:28

MC-Cole Taylor, 11:44

Checked in : SS, Indi Kretzschmar 29. CM, Jeremy Renholm 12.