Sailors tie it up |

Sailors tie it up

Sloppy plays, several penalties 'take away from the flow'

Luke Graham

— So much for an offensive shootout.

Despite Steamboat Springs and Aspen both averaging more than four goals a game and having some of the more skilled forwards in the state, the two teams skated to a 1-1 tie in a game marred by penalties and sloppy play Saturday at Howelsen Ice Arena.

The two teams combined for 55 penalty minutes, went 1-for-21 on the power play – including 0-for-4 with a two-man advantage – and managed only 16 shots in the third and overtime periods.

“When you have that many penalties, it kind of throws a wrench into line combinations,” Aspen head coach Al Butler said. “It really takes away from the flow of the game.”

Sailors forward Jim Terry said, “There’s definitely some hate there. There’s two people on Aspen’s lines I can’t stand, so I probably took some sloppy penalties.”

After skating to an even first period, the Skiers capitalized on a Sailor turnover 1 minute, 24 seconds into the second period.

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With Steamboat on the power play, Aspen defenseman Tommy Mines jumped a pass at the blue line, skated in and chipped a shot over Sailors goalie Jeff Dawes’ right shoulder. The goal was indicative of Steamboat’s second period.

After outplaying the Skiers in the first period, the Sailors were outshot 14-6 in the second period and went 0-for-3 on the power play.

“The second period wasn’t our best period,” Steamboat head coach Jeff Ruff said. “I don’t think we were taking it to them like we did in the first. Really, we let them control the pace of play in the second period.”

The third period started out much like the second ended, with the Sailors struggling to get the power play going. After Aspen’s Matt Butler took a five-minute major penalty for kneeing, the Sailors missed several opportunities to tie the game.

Finally, with 2:23 left in the period, Steamboat – on the power play again – broke through against Aspen goalie Remy Pearlstone.

Greg Ingalls gained control of the puck in the Sailors zone and got it ahead to Grant Ehrick who touched it ahead to Jake Stanford.

Stanford used his big frame to knife around one defender and flipped the puck over Pearlstone.

“For a guy like Jake, with his confidence, his strength and his size, its something we look for and we know he’s capable of,” Ruff said.

In overtime, the Sailors took a penalty, giving Aspen a man advantage.

But Sailors goalie Jeff Dawes stopped three shots on the power play, and 30 in the game, to keep the score knotted at 1-1.

Ruff said the failures on the power play are something that has to be addressed.

“Aspen was a very aggressive penalty-killing unit so we didn’t get set up quite as nicely as we would like to,” he said. “If a team is going to take 14 penalties, then we need to be able to move the puck and score.”

With the win the Sailors move to 4-0-1. Ruff said although the game may have been sloppy, he’s still very pleased to approach the holiday break undefeated.

“Our feeling is we prepare for each game and work hard and play the best game we can,” he said. “I don’t think we put together three good periods, but we put together two good periods and the overtime together. We’re always working for the next game, and we’re still undefeated.”