Being named Most Valuable Player is nothing new to Carl Baxter, now 20 and just crowned the top player in the Winter Games senior check division hockey Sunday afternoon after helping his Cottonwood Heights team to a 7-5 gold-medal win over the Roadrunners.
A little less than two years ago, Baxter scored four goals and had an assist to lead the Highland High Rams to their fifth state prep title, and he was named MVP then, too.Sunday, Baxter had three assists, giving him one goal and nine assists for the four-game Winter Games tournament.
He was outscored by the Roadrunners' Dean Lyons, who had nine goals, four assists for 13 points. Lyons had two goals in Sunday's loss, a game of momentum shifts.
The Roadrunners took a 2-1 lead through the first 61/2 minutes, but Cottonwood Heights came back with goals from Paul Snow, Marcus Rood and two from Cory Furness for a 5-2 lead before the first period was out.
The second period saw goaltenders Roger Rougelot for Cottonwood and Ron Petronella perform shutout work worthy of their reputations - Petronella played minor hockey in the New York Islanders' chain, and Rougelot, a former Highland goalie, played at the University of Wisconsin and was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets.
In the third period, the Roadrunners' Lyons and Al Call scored the first two goals to cut the lead to 5-4, but when the game got rough, Cottonwood got a power play, and Bill Apgood scored the eventual winning goal with the advantage.
In the bronze-medal game earlier Sunday, Cottonwood Spa downed the Utah Winter Games All-Stars 4-2 with a four-goal jump in the two periods. Frank Canfield and Glen Hives scored a goal and an assist each in that game for Cottonwood.
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In Sunday night's senior no-check gold-medal game, unbeaten West jumped to a 3-0 start through the first period and used another three-goal burst in the second period to outdistance the East. The West won the gold medal 11-5.
"We were the most balanced team," said Coach Ralph Clegg. "We didn't have any real stars," he added, though center Chris Billiter was chosen as the no-check tourney's Most Valuable Player. "He epitomized why our team was very good - a two-way players, not flashy, good attitude."
Billiter finished the Games with four goals and eight assists, one point less than teammate Allan Walton and East's Frank Canfield.
Three players from the West - Rick Trayner, Andrew Bird and Scott Schlegel - and Gordon Wood from the East had two goals each, while West's Kevin James had three assists.
The West won the gold medal with a female goalie, Ogden's Tracy Mount, who played several years ago in Utah prep hockey, too. She was a candidate for MVP honors as were about three other players.
For the bronze medal, the North beat the South 3-1, scoring one goal each period. Richard Bombard and Roger Croyer scored a goal and an assist each, and Croyer finished the tournament with four goals, six assists.