Sailors, Skiers face off on ice |

Sailors, Skiers face off on ice

Luke Graham

— One game doesn’t determine a season, but if the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team (4-0-0) wants to prove that its No. 2 ranking is legit, a win Saturday against fifth-ranked Aspen (4-2-0) could go a long way.

“It really doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Sailors coach Jeff Ruff said about the ranking. “Our motto this year, kind of one of our team philosophies, is ‘Be in the moment.’ We’re preparing game by game and preparing for the team we’re going to meet : but it means a lot for us to beat Aspen.”

The Sailors already beat the Skiers once this year.

In a Dec. 2 matchup to decide the champion of the King of the Mountain tournament in Vail, the Sailors skated to a 2-1 victory behind goals from Billy Taylor and Jake Stanford and solid goaltending from Jeff Dawes, who stopped 10 shots in the third period with his team down a man for more than eight minutes.

After watching film and talking to several coaches around the state, Ruff said the Sailors won’t change much from the first time they played Aspen.

Ruff said Aspen is a speedy team that has some crafty players who, given the chance, will make Steamboat pay if the Sailors are careless with the puck.

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Offensively, Ruff said the Sailors want to get the puck in deep and use their forechecking to create opportunities.

A lot of those opportunities could come the first line’s way. The trio of Jim Terry, Jake Stanford and Greg Ingalls have accounted for 11 of the Sailors’ 14 goals this season, including eight from Stanford.

“What I really like about that line is they do to teams what we want to prevent teams from doing,” Ruff said.

The next three games should tell a lot about the Sailors, Ruff said. After Aspen, the Sailors play at Kent Denver on Dec. 22 and at Cheyenne Mountain on Jan. 5.

“When we come through those three game, we’ll have a better idea of where we are in the state,” Ruff said. “Those are some good teams, and Cheyenne Mountain is always the measuring stick.”