Steamboat hockey drops game to Rampart |

Steamboat hockey drops game to Rampart

Dave Shively
Steamboat Springs goalie Jeff Dawes pushes the puck away from the net in the second period of Friday night's game against Rampart. The Sailors lost, 3-5.
John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs — It's easy to overlook the Rampart Rams. — It's easy to overlook the Rampart Rams.

— It’s easy to overlook the Rampart Rams.

Their coach Josh McIntosh will readily admit that while he has a deep squad with plenty of talent, the Rams (3-3 in Peak Conference play, 5-6 overall) are undersized and extremely young with two seniors and 18 underclassmen.

The Steamboat Springs High School hockey team seemed to look past Rampart Friday night at Howelsen Ice Arena, as the Sailors lost the conference match-up, 5-3.

“We played good in the second and the third, but not inspired,” Steamboat head coach Jeff Ruff said. “We need that high-intensity play.”

Rampart’s Riley O’Rourke lifted a loose puck over Steamboat goalkeeper Jeff Dawes’ stick-side blocker to break open a 2-2 tie with one second left in the second period. The Rams bench exploded and Rampart carried the momentum into the first few minutes of the third, when a wild deflection on Matt Auila’s power-play slap shot put them up two goals.

Down, 4-2, the Sailors had their chances to come back.

With eight minutes to go, Steamboat had a 5-on-3 power play but failed to generate more than a single quality shot on cage.

“We just got a little too anxious to score. We’ve gotta slow down and think,” said Steamboat junior Cody Fritz, who led Steamboat with two goals and an assist on the night. “We’ve got to go to the net with the instinct to score : We had a few chances, but throughout the whole game we didn’t have the level of play we needed.”

As both teams returned to full strength and the Sailors offensive urgency was mounting, Fritz kicked out a puck to Jon Winkelblech, who buried a shot through Rampart goalie Brock Vosburgh’s legs – returning the favor to Winkelblech, who had assisted Fritz on the first goal of the game.

Then, with two minutes to go, Steamboat went on a final power play, pulling Dawes from the net for another offensive player to help find the tying shot.

Instead, Rampart senior captain Donald Geary broke up an errant Steamboat pass and sealed the win with an empty-net goal.

Dawes angrily re-entered the game as the clock wound down, slamming and breaking his stick on the ice in frustration.

As time expired, the Rams swarmed their freshman goalie.

“Steamboat’s an excellent team – we just wanted to come up here and play well,” McIntosh said. “This was a win we needed.”

Steamboat (5-7 overall, 4-3 in conference), returns to its home ice to face Doherty (2-11 overall, 2-6 in conference) at 3 p.m. today.

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