Sports brief: Taos Ice Tigers hockey

The Taos Ice Tigers won all three of their games this weekend, including an 8-6 victory Saturday night (Jan. 26) in Rio Rancho against the league-dominating Cibola High School Cougars. The Ice Tigers were down 5-1 but, for the seniors’ first time during the regular season, they turned it around.

“A big hit by Brandon Martinez changed the momentum,” head coach John Henderson said. By the end of the second period, it was 5-4 – the Ice Tigers only 1 point behind. “We kept it positive and kept working hard,” Henderson said, and the result was a sweet victory for the Ice Tigers.

They also played two games against the La Cueva Bears, the first one Saturday morning (Jan. 26). “All we focused on in practice this week came to fruition and we dismantled La Cueva 10-1. We had three lines going hard, strong goal tending, and we moved the puck well,” coach Henderson reported.

Sunday morning back at the Outpost Rink in the Sandias, the players were tired, physically and emotionally, but they pulled off a 5-4 a comeback against the Bears, who were fired up after being so badly beaten the day before.

“It was a good weekend as a team,” Henderson said. In addition to skills and the competition, “we focused on keeping all communication positive, not panicking, and never giving up. Good skills for team sports and for life.”

The Ice Tigers have their last home games this upcoming weekend. They play the Durango Demons at 7 p.m. on Friday (Feb 1) and at 8 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 2). Next, the Ice Tigers take on the Telluride Miners at 5:15 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 2) and celebrate their seniors. Sunday (Feb.3) at 8 a.m. they face the Miners again. Four games in barely over 36 hours is a lot and the Ice Tigers will enjoy all the support they can get.

They’ve played both their league rivals Durango and Telluride already this season, and the two teams play some “hard-nosed, physical hockey.” Telluride is the top-ranked team in the league and has only one loss in the regular season – to the Ice Tigers.

The Ice Tigers are now 9-4-1 in the regular season.

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