UTAH – Battling its way through the one-loss bracket at the Utah Mountain Cup in Kearns, the Wyoming Pronghorns traveling hockey team came back to win the championship following three days of action on May 6-8.
The Pronghorns are affiliated with the Pinedale Hockey Association and include young athletes between the ages of 7 and 10 from Pinedale, Jackson, Riverton and Rock Springs.
The tournament, played at the Utah Olympic Oval, opened with a series of round-robin preliminary games, pitting the Pronghorns against teams from Colorado, Nevada and Utah.
The Pronghorns defeated the Henderson Battleborn from Nevada, 9-4, in the opening game. Following a 7-2 loss to the Wasatch Front Fire of Utah, the Pronghorns went on to trounce the Grand Junction Riverhawks of Colorado, 12-1.
The Pronghorns’ wins propelled the team to the championship game for a rematch with the Wasatch Front Fire. The Pronghorns rallied to score a resounding 7-2 victory and clinch the title.
The Pronghorns practiced together only three times before the tournament due to the distance between communities and a lack of ice, said coach Colt Nelson. All the Pinedale athletes play for the Glaciers during the winter season and are used to meeting their teammates from Riverton, Rock Springs and Jackson on the ice as opponents, Nelson added.
The Pronghorns stepped up to the plate despite the obstacles and gelled as a team in Utah.
“For a lack of practice, we were able to really work together as a team and utilize each other to be competitive,” said Nelson.