By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
The Havre Ice Hawk Bantam squad produced a solid showing at its first ever state Bantam A tournament Feb. 13-15.
In the first year competing at the tougher level, Havre finished with a 1-3 record to finish second overall.
The Ice Hawks opened the tournament with a 4-2 win over the Missoula Bruins on Feb 13.
After a scoreless first period, Missoula found the goal in the second period to take a 1-0 lead.
Havre exploded in the third period as Todd Roe found Ryan Armstrong to get the Ice Hawks on the board. Havre took the lead nearly a minute later as Tyler Boyce scored on an assist from Brad Hanson to take a 2-1 lead. The Ice Hawks added two more goals by Roe with assists from Armstrong and Haley McLain to pad their lead.
Missoula added a late goal in the third period, but it was too late as the Ice Hawks prevailed.
David Zentmire got the win in goal, picking up 21 saves for Havre.
The euphoria of the first win wore off a day later as the Ice Hawks fell to the Gallatin Valley Freeze, 6-2, in a game that featured 12 combined penalties and a game ejection.
Gallatin Valley opened with a goal just a few minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead.
Havre answered with 3:41 remaining in the second period as Boyce scored on an assist from Willy Schilling and Nick Nault.
Gallatin answered Havre's goal with a score with 56 seconds remaining. The goal was just the first of several. The Freeze reeled off four straight goals to start the third period to take a commanding 6-1 lead. Havre got its other goal from Roe with 1:06 remaining in the game.
Things didn't get any easier for the Ice Hawks later in the day as they had to face the top team in the tournament in the Billings Jr. Bulls. The Bulls blanked Havre 6-0. Billings scored three goals in the first period and never looked back, tacking on two goals in the second and one more in the third for the win.
Zentmire had a busy game in goal, stopping 42 shots in the loss. Despite the lopsided score, Havre still managed to pick up a moral victory of sorts. Because the Bulls beat the other teams by such a large deficit in the tournament, the Ice Hawks just had to limit Billings to fewer than 10 goals to qualify for the championship.
Havre, of course, had to meet Billings in the championship. The Ice Hawks came up with a solid effort, giving Billings all it could handle in a 3-2 loss in a very rough and tumble game.
Billings grabbed an early 1-0 lead, but Havre broke its scoreless drought against the Bulls with an unassisted goal from Armstrong at the eight-minute mark in the second period.
The Bulls retook the lead early in the third period, but Havre answered two minutes later as Boyce scored an unassisted goal to tie the game 2-2.
But Billings got the game winner two minutes later to take the tourney title.
Zentmire had a solid game in goal, picking up 24 saves.