The Laramie Outlaw Club Hockey team attended the Under 18 Frontier Division Championship from Friday to Sunday last week in Sheridan. The team played three games and finished as Wyoming B Division runners-up.

The Outlaws hoped to make it to the finals, but athletes on the team expected Jackson Hole, Sheridan, and Gillette to be tough opponents. However, the Jackson Hole coach was not able to attend the tourney and the Gillette team played in a different bracket. That left the Sheridan Hawks.

In their first game, the Outlaws were pitted against the Douglas Youth Hockey team and finished the game with a 19-0 victory. In their second game, the Outlaws faced the Cody Ice Cats and won 6-3. The final game, played on Sunday at 10:45 A.M., was against the Sheridan Hawks. The Outlaws lost the game 3-4 after a hard-fought battle. 

“We were kind of disappointed at the end, but second place isn’t bad,” junior Alex Mavriplis, who missed the first and second games because of stomach flu but made it up to play the final, said.

After the Finals, Zach Johnson, an 18-year-old attending the University of Wyoming, playfully referred to as the team’s “super senior,” and LHS junior Evan Naughton were both selected for the B-Division All State team.  

Senior Joe Erikson, who normally plays on the Outlaws’ starting line, was not able to play in the finals due to family conflicts. Erikson, who has played with both the Outlaws and a nationally-ranked club team based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota during his high school career, has been ejected from two games this season.

Many of the team’s athletes feel as though they have improved this year, including sophomore Esai Jaime, who hopes to become team captain next season. Jaime says he has been working to improve his stick handling and his shot, along with his game sense. Going into the finals Jaime was expecting his team to give it their all no matter what, and he believed they did. LHS Goalies Joe Kelly and Sam Miller, both Sophomores, have also shown improvement this season. The team is optimistic for next year and hopes to bring home a Division B title in the 2018/19 season.

The only injury sustained at the championship took place during the final when Evan Naughton was tripped during a Sheridan offensive push. Naughton is now back on his feet and in class, but the severity of injury is yet to be determined. 

The Outlaws’ worst injury of the year was during a game against Gillette earlier in the season in January. Junior Graeme Ernest-Hoar suffered a spinal compression fracture after a check into the boards.  After a night waiting in the hospital, the Outlaws took home a 6-5 victory in the second game against Gillette the next morning. “Winning after Graeme got hurt was by far the highlight of the season,” said Mavriplis.