Steamboat hockey cruises past Pine Creek |

Steamboat hockey cruises past Pine Creek

— Monday afternoon's performance against the surging Pine Creek Eagles was just what Steamboat Springs hockey coach Jeff Ruff hoped to see from his Sailors as they move toward the playoffs.

"Pine Creek has been surging, so I was happy that we could put a damper on their surge," Ruff said after Steamboat beat Pine Creek, 9-2. "We came out with a lot of intensity and matched their play very, very well. We were going to the net with purpose and we got some beautiful goals."

In fact, the Sailors seemed to have no problem illuminating the light above the Pine Creek goal. The Sailors rolled to the victory and could capture the Peak Conference title with wins at home this weekend.

The Sailors got early goals from Jake Bearss and Jace Worden to take a 2-1 first-period lead against the home team in Colorado Springs. Ian Anderson assisted the first goal, and Lance Ostrom and Blayne Conroy both had a hand in the second goal.

But Pine Creek didn't fold at first. Christian Clark answered Bearss' goal to even the score at 1. The score came on a power play with Samantha Kenney assisting.

Steamboat extended the lead in the second period when Brady Bender put the puck in the back of the net. Vladan Chase and Jon Winkelblech assisted the goal that gave the Sailors a 3-1 advantage.

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Xander Hoskins' goal at 9:09 in the second pulled Pine Creek back into the game, but that was as close as the Eagles would get.

Two quick goals from Chase and Ostrom extinguished the threat. When the period came to an end, Steamboat held a 5-2 advantage, but more important, it had taken control of the game.

Steamboat dominated the final period by controlling the puck and taking advantage of the team's scoring opportunities. The Sailors got two more goals from Worden, who finished the night with a hat trick. They also got scores from Anderson and another from Chase. Steamboat had 29 shots on goal and held Pine Creek to just 13. Goalie Erik Owen turned away all but two of the shots.

Ruff said he was pleased with the entire team's efforts, and gave particular praise to Worden. Ruff said Worden, who is a developing player who typically plays just one or two shifts a game, could play a key role down the stretch and into the playoffs.

"He's a player that we've been developing this season, and I think he could play a key role for this team this time of the year," Ruff said. "This was a huge game for him. It shows he's starting to understand the speed of the game at this level."

The coach said getting this type of game from players like Worden shows the depth this team has. That depth could be tested this week as the Sailors open a three-game homestand at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday against Standley Lake (14-3-0). It's a nonconference game with playoff implications. Standley Lake is one of the top teams from the Foothills Conference and is a team Steamboat could see in the postseason.

Steamboat will then finish out the weekend with a pair of conference games. The first is at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Coronado (4-13-0), and the second is Saturday against Cheyenne Mountain (8-7-2).

— To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail

Hockey results

Team 1st 2nd 3rd Final

Pine Creek 1 1 0 — 2

Steamboat Springs 2 3 4 — 9

First period — Steamboat Springs, Jake Bearss (Ian Anderson), 2:56; Pine Creek, Christian Clark (Samantha Kenney), 4:10; Steamboat Springs (Lance Ostrom, Blayne Conroy), 9:41.

Second period — Steamboat Springs, Brady Bender (Vladan Chase, Jon Winkelblech), 8:19; Pine Creek, Xander Hoskins (Christian Clark, Landon Webster), 9:09; Steamboat Springs, Lance Ostrom (John Wharton, Ian Anderson), 9:58.

Third period — Steamboat Springs, Jace Worden (Brady Bender, Blayne Conroy), 0:12; Steamboat Springs, Ian Anderson (John Winkelblech, Blayne Conroy), 3:17; Steamboat Springs, Jace Worden (Blayne Conroy), 12:11; Steamboat Springs, Vladan Chase (Jon Winkelblech), 14:59.

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