After powering through the regular season with 18 wins and just 2 losses, the Douglas Peewee IceCats skated to the state tournament this past weekend in Park County and returned home with their second straight state championship.
Over the course of three days, the IceCats swept throough the competition with four wins, the decisive one coming on Sunday in a 3-2 win over Park County to secure the title.
In their first game of the tournament on Friday, Douglas mounted a comeback after trailing 4-1 to begin the third period. After tying the game with just 23 seconds remaining, the IceCats completed the comeback in overtime for a 5-4 win.
“It was extremely stressful,” head coach Allen Holmes said of the come-from-behind win. “We just wanted it that much more and it showed.”
Maverick Rothleutner led the comeback effort with three goals and an assist. Daniel Madia and Corbin Hubert also tallied goals of their own in the win.
Next up, the IceCats returned on Saturday morning for a matchup with Park County, a team that handed Douglas just its second loss of the season back on Feb. 1. For three periods it was Daniel Madia’s world and everyone else was living in it. He netted four goals to pace the IceCats in a 4-1 win.
“We’ve been stressing all season that he’s a really good, fast skater,” Holmes said of Madia. “We said that if he skates by everyone he’ll get that many more opportunities.”
Later in the day on Saturday, Madia did just that. He added to his goal tally with three more goals in another 4-1 win for Douglas, this time over Casper. Christopher DeLuna also found the back of the net and Beth Loveless contributed an assist in the victory.
In Sunday’s championship game, a rematch with Park County, Douglas found the back of the net first with a goal 8:36 into the game by Jack Isenberger. In the second period it was Park County’s turn. Owen Renfors and Eli Woodring each scored goals to send the game into the final period with Douglas trailing 2-1. Held scoreless for the first nine minutes of the third period, Madia said enough was enough. He scored at the 9:53 mark to tie the game 2-2. Four minutes later, with 10.8 seconds remaining in the game and the season on the line, DeLuna broke the tie with a goal past Park County goalie Aspen Alexander to seal the deal. The IceCats held on for a 3-2 win and back-to-back titles.
As they trekked across the state Sunday night and made their way back into Douglas, the IceCats received the championship treatment with an escort through the city from both the Douglas Police and Fire Departments. The championship trophy had returned to the Jackalope City.
“It was the icing on top of the cake after such an unbelievable season,” Holmes said. “We went through some ups and downs but we came together when we needed to. It showed how big (their) heart is for the game of hockey.”