Sailors bitten by top team |

Sailors bitten by top team

Steamboat hockey team overcome by No. 2 Battle Mountain, 6-0

Luke Graham

Steamboat's Jonny Stevens, right, breaks past a Battle Mountain defender during a hockey game at Howelsen Ice Arena in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday.

— While Battle Mountain weathered its miscues, Steamboat Springs couldn’t overcome its own. In the end, the state’s second-ranked hockey team easily defeated the Sailors, 6-0.

Battle Mountain escaped a first period marred by penalties with a 1-0 lead, and the Huskies put the game out of reach in a second period full of Steamboat penalties and sloppy play. It was 4-0 by the time the third period started at Howelsen Ice Arena.

“We’re a deep team right now,” said Battle Mountain coach Gary Defina, whose team had eight minutes of penalties and was outshot, 13-7, in the first period. “I have 11 forwards that can play. The hard part for me is giving them all ice time. It’s a luxury for me that I’ve never had in my three years here. We can roll three lines, and if we stay 5-on-5, we’ve been dominant the last two months.”

The Huskies scored first when Jonny Stevens threaded a pass from above the right circle to Jacob Lammert, who snuck it inside the left post with 9 minutes, 41 seconds left in the period.

That’s when Battle Mountain started to commit penalties. After two minor penalties, Huskies goalie Kalen Burnett was called for a double minor roughing penalty.

Steamboat turned Battle Mountain’s sloppy play into several opportunities. Still, the Sailors squandered three odd-man rushes and couldn’t come away with anything in more than five minutes of power-play time, including a 35-second 5-on-3 advantage.

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“I thought we came out with the intensity we were looking for in the first period and then played back-and-forth hockey with them,” Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. “It was a good first period of hockey.”

Despite the Steamboat chances, Battle Mountain’s Burnett was more than ready for the challenge.

Burnett stopped 13 shots in the first period, including eight on the power play.

“I owed it to the team to not be scored on from that point,” Burnett said of his double minor penalty. “We were rock solid after that. It was a huge momentum shift. Glad we got out of that kill and were able to play well the rest of the game.”

Battle Mountain added three tallies in the second, one on a power play and the other two in 4-on-4 situations. It started when Stevens sniped a shot from inside the left circle over the glove hand of Steamboat goalie Jeff Dawes. Barrett Chow added a rebound goal two minutes later, and Gustav Philipson scored on a wrist shot just in front of the crease to give Battle Mountain a 4-0 lead.

“The penalties kill us,” Ruff said. “They killed us in the second period. Any momentum or good feelings we generated in the first period, we lose by sitting in the penalty box for eight minutes. That’s over half the period.”

Kodi Wyatt and Lammert added late third-period goals for the Huskies, who improved to 16-2 overall and 11-0 in the Peak Conference. Steamboat fell to 7-10 overall and 6-5 in conference play.

“The difference in any game against Battle Mountain is when they go out to play, they always play to win. They’re like sharks in the water,” Ruff said. “We’ve proved we can be successful against these teams for a period or so. But, again, we need three periods like that first, and we have to stay out of the penalty box.”