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Hockey: Rams PeeWees win state title game, 5-1

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By Special to the Monitor

The Los Alamos Hockey Association Rams PeeWees captured the first hockey state championship of the year by winning the New Mexico Recreational Hockey League state championship.The PeeWee championship game was held Sunday in Albuquerque. The Rams beat the New Mexico Amateur Hockey Association Scorpions 5-1."Everyone on the team played at their highest level the whole weekend," Rams coach Peter Pavlik said. "But I would like to especially mention the contributions of our top scorers Jared Mang and Taylor Thorn with eight and five goals for the tournament."In the title game, the Rams jumped out to a 3-0 lead, which they would never surrender.Los Alamos opened the scoring with Arnaldo Ortiz scoring off an assist by Brian Esquibel with 6:54 left in the first period. The Rams then added two power-play goals in the next three minutes to build a comfortable 3-0 lead, with Tyler Thorn and Esquibel scoring, and Robert Pavlik and Zayne Walterscheid assisting. The Scorpions answered back with a goal at the 3:27 mark to cut the advantage to two, but the Rams’ defense then kept them from mounting a comeback. Esquibel and Jared Mang added insurance goals in the second period, with assists from Pavlik and Trae Randolph, and goalie Nolan Bell stopped the rest of the Scorpions’ shots for the balance of the game. The fast pace, precise passing, and disciplined physical play by the Rams dominated their opposition and yielded the team’s biggest win of the season. The team reached the championship game after besting two teams from the host New Mexico Ice Hockey Foundation, winning 9-1 and 5-4, and then shutting out Taos, 1-0. The Scorpions also ended their opening round with a 3-0 record.The state championship win follows a third place finish in the Durango Presidents' Day tournament against teams from Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The PeeWee team will compete in the Taos Coyote Classic March 21-23 to finish the 2007-08 season.