Staking out state |

Staking out state

Steamboat set to play Air Academy in opening round of playoffs

Steamboat Springs High School hockey team will face Air Academy in the state playoffs Friday. The Sailors lost to the Kadets, 1-0, during their Feb. 3 matchup.
Courtesy Photo

— The Steamboat Springs hockey team earned the No. 15 seed in the state playoffs and will play second-seeded Air Academy in the first round, the Colorado High School Activities Association announced on Sunday.

The game will take place on Friday at 8 p.m. at Sertich Ice Center in Colorado Springs.

Earlier in the year, the Sailors (10-6-2 overall, 6-6 in conference play) lost to the Kadets, 1-0, in a game Steamboat dominated for three periods but couldn’t capitalize on its opportunities.

Steamboat outshot Air Academy, 30-14, in its Feb. 3 matchup at Howelsen Ice Arena.

“We’re happy with the matchup we got,” Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. “We played well against them here and believe we can play well against them again.”

The seeding for the state playoffs involved the top eight teams from each conference – the Foothills and Peak – making the playoffs. The teams are then seeded on overall record.

Despite coming off of two losses during the weekend – 5-3 to Rampart on Friday and 6-0 to Battle Mountain on Saturday – Ruff said when the bracket was announced, he had a good feeling about Steamboat’s chances.

Ruff said Sertich Ice Center has an ice surface with big corners similar to the ones at Howelsen Ice Arena.

Howelsen is an Olympic size rink, whereas most high school teams play on an NHL size rink.

Then when Ruff saw the team was playing Air Academy (15-2-2, 9-1-2), he said he knew the players would have confidence from their earlier meeting.

“Confidence level is a large factor with our team,” he said. “We have tape of our guys making good plays against these guys. That will only help us.”

The winner of the Steamboat-Air Academy game will play the winner of Pueblo County and Pine Creek on Saturday at noon.

For more information on the state tournament or for a complete bracket, visit

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail

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