Sailors hockey passes Liberty at home with offensive explosion |

Sailors hockey passes Liberty at home with offensive explosion

Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Jace Worden checks Liberty's Corey Lorenz in the first period of Friday night's hockey game at Howelsen Ice Arena. Steamboat netted five goals in the second period en route to a 8-1 victory against the Liberty Lancers and improved the team's record to 8-2-2 (6-1-0 in league) this season.

— Lance Ostrom's second-period goal in Friday night's game against the Liberty Lancers ignited an offensive explosion that helped the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team skate to an 8-1 victory at home.

Coach Jeff Ruff "told us to pick it up and start putting the puck in the net," Ostrom said. "We had the opportunities in the first, but we just couldn't seem to get them in the back of the net."

But about three minutes into the second, Ostrom's goal, assisted by Ian Anderson and John Wharton, seemed to open the floodgates for Steamboat's aggressive offensive attack.

Vladan Chase teamed up with Jake Bearss to keep things rolling with the Sailors' second goal, and then Blayne Conroy, assisted by Alex Elliott, scored the first of his two in the period. Wharton increased the Sailors' lead to 4-0 with a goal at 9:07 assisted by Ostrom and Bearss. Conroy closed out the period with his second goal of the night. In the period, the Sailors outshot the Lancers, 17-5, and managed to chase starting goalkeeper T.J. Hill from the game. Hill gave up five goals on 29 shots during the game.

"They are an extremely aggressive team, and they just wore us down," Liberty coach Marc Smith said after the game.

The coach said after the first period, Steamboat consistently beat his team to the puck and that when the opportunity was there for the Lancers to score, his players could not capitalize.

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Liberty had a pair of breakaway opportunities in the second, but in both cases the shots went wide of Steamboat goalkeeper Joey Haight, who finished the game with 14 saves on 15 shots.

Steamboat maintained the pressure in the third despite playing shorthanded for most of the period. Steamboat had four penalties in the period but got two shorthanded goals from Jon Winkelblech and another from Bearss. Chase had two assists in the period, and Brady Bender had one. Liberty's Mike Tabrum scored as time ran out to make the final score 8-1 in favor of the Sailors.

"Whenever we get a five-goal period, we are very happy with the effort," Ruff said. "We were a little flat in the first period, but we talked to them about how every game from here on out is building toward our goal. That is the highest playoff seed possible, and with that in mind, we found the energy to start creating, to start moving our feet and beating the other team to the puck. That's where we started to dominate, and I think we did a good job of maintaining that level of energy into the third period."

The win left the Sailors, 8-2-2, (6-1-0) at the top of the division along with Rampart, who has one more game and a 9-3-1 (6-1-1) record for the season. Liberty falls to 0-13 this season and is at the bottom. Steamboat will travel to the Word Arena in Colorado Springs on Jan. 30 to take on Doherty (7-4-2) in another division contest.

Game statistics

Steamboat Springs: 0-5-3 — 8

Liberty: 0-0-1 — 1

Period 2

No goals

Period 2

Steamboat Springs — Lance Ostrom (Ian Anderson, John Wharton), 3:30; Steamboat —Vladan Chase (shorthanded)(Jake Bearss), 7:12; Steamboat — Blayne Conroy (Alex Elliott), 8:32; Steamboat — John Wharton (Lance Ostrom, Jake Bearss), 9:07; Steamboat — Blayne Conroy (shorthanded)(unassisted), 12:27

Period 3

Steamboat — Jon Winkelblech (shorthanded)(Vladan Chase), 1:40; Steamboat — Jon Winkelblech (shorthanded)(Vladan Chase, Brady Bender), 5:25; Steamboat —Jake Bearss (shorthanded)(unassisted), 6:04; Liberty — Mike Tabrum (Corey Lorenz, Bennett Heimple), 14:59