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River Rats off to 9-1-1 start to hockey season
Robert Burlie, left, and the Riverton River Rats will be in action Saturday night and Sunday morning, hosting Gillette in a pair of games. The team of high school boys has lost just once in 11 games this season. Photo Wayne Nicholls

River Rats off to 9-1-1 start to hockey season

Jan 30, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

That's the most wins of any team in Wyoming's high school age bracket for the sport.

The Riverton River Rats high-school-age hockey team has jumped out to a 9-1-1 record after winning three consecutive home games last weekend.

The Rats competed a sweep over the Rock Springs Miners by winning 9-3 Sunday morning to follow a 12-2 victory Saturday night.

Riverton opened the weekend blasting Pinedale 11-2 on Saturday morning. The games were played at Riverton Ice Hockey Arena.

Riverton hosts the Gillette Wild A team at 8 p.m. Saturday, followed by a 10 a.m. game on Sunday.

"We are pretty balanced all the way around," Riverton coach Lee Hanson said. "We have good defense. We have good, solid lines of forwards. We are fairly deep this year."

The team has been playing games since December.

"Some of them need to work on positioning and movement," Hanson said. "Our passing is really good. That really helps in hockey if your passing is on."

Riverton has veteran players with eight seniors, but only four of them are aged out of the program after the school year is finished.

The four players playing their final year are Ian McMenamy, Logan Hartbank, Lars Becker and Wyatt Griffin.

"All of them have been playing for many years," Hanson said. "They all love hockey."

Jace Hanson, Ty Woodward, and Toby and Brian Lewis are the other seniors.

The Casper Oilers A team has the best record in the state at 8-0-0.

"Every weekend we have seemed to keep improving," Hanson said.

Riverton practices four times a week are the arena.

The practices go an hour and a half.

The Gillette Wild A team is 7-2-1.

"Gillette will be our toughest competition that we have had all year," Hanson said. "They have a full roster."

Riverton plays Casper on Saturday, Feb. 8, and Sunday, Feb. 9.

"The next two weekends will be our toughest of the season," Hanson said.

"Casper has a full roster. They have more numbers to pick from."

White leads state

Riverton's Tristan White is the No. 1 scorer in the state with 31 goals. He has 14 assists for a total of 45 points.

Gillette's Tyler Tennanet is No. 2 at 15 goals and 15 assists.

Jace Hanson ranks third after putting in nine goals and 20 assists.

Becker sits No. 9 at seven goals and 12 assists.

Sam McMenamy has come up with nine goals and five assists. Robert Buline is up to six goals and eight assists.

"We are very solid on the offensive end," coach Hanson said. ""We have two extra players over three lines. We have some first-year players on the line."

Lewis and Griffin change off games in the goalie position.

Griffin is 5-0-0 in the games he has started in the net.

Griffin has allowed 12 games for an average of 2.40 shots allowed. He has a total of 120 shots saved.

Brian Lewis ranks No. 5 in the state for goalies. He is 4-1-1 and has given up 14 goals for an average of 2.40. Casper Oilers A goalie Garrett Grant is the top-ranked goalie in the state.

He is 8-0-0 and has been scored on just 10 times.

Games in the high school age group are three 18-minute periods.

"Most of the time the games go by pretty fast."

Standings for high

school aged hockey

Casper Oilers A, 8-0-0

Riverton River Rats, 9-1-0

Sheridan Hawks, 8-4-0

Gillette Wild A, 7-2-1

Casper Oilers B, 6-4-2

Pinedale Glaciers, 5-7-0

Cheyenne Capitals, 4-6-2

Douglas Ice Cats, 3-8-1

Park County Ice Cats, 3-8-1

Laramie Outlaws, 2-8-0

Rock Springs Miners, 1-8-1

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