The chase for the third playoff spot in the RMJHL is tight, with three teams separated by just six points. Two of those teams, Breckenridge Bolts and Colorado Rampage, went toe-to-toe this weekend with both taking three points.
It was the final time the Rampage, who lead the Bolts by just one point, would visit Breckenridge this season and the two played an intense two-game set. In the opener the teams exchanged goals in the first half of regulation before hitting a stalemate at 3-3. After an overtime failed to produce a winner the game moved on to a shootout where Breckenridge would secure the extra point.
Game two had the feel of a dominant home team looking for a weekend sweep, but it was the Rampage who struck first when Wyatt Allred scored at 2:29 of the first. Ethan Swedlund would extend that lead when he scored on the powerplay early in the second frame. By second intermission the Bolts were outshooting their visitors 28-11, but it was the Rampage leading 2-0.
Tanner Caldarola got the Bolts on the board at 4:12 of the third and less than three minutes later Hunter Havice tied it at 2-2. But this game would belong to the Rampage and their goaltender Noah Vanderbeck, who stopped 41 shots in 65 minutes and helped his team win in a shootout.
— Ludwig Media (@Ludwig_Media) January 21, 2018
In Lakewood the fifth place Colorado Thunderbirds stayed in the playoff hunt as well as proved they could compete with the top team in the league by splitting a two-game set with the first place Steamboat Wranglers.
Shawn Catudal netted a hat trick in the opener to power the Steamboat to a 7-3 victory. Donny Nordstrom added a pair of goals while Cole Kohut made 36 saves in net.
In the series finale Steamboat (22-7-0-1) scored the only goal of the first period, but it would not be enough. Four different players scored for the Thunderbirds (7-17-1-0) and goalie Joshua Sample stopped 44 of 45 shots to give the home team a convincing 4-1 win.