Steamboat hockey gets No. 4 seed in state tournament |

Steamboat hockey gets No. 4 seed in state tournament

Sailors to play Cheyenne Mountain Indians on Friday

— The Steamboat Springs High School hockey team was slotted Sunday as one of two No. 4 seeds in the 16-team state tournament. The Sailors, 13-5, will travel to Monument and begin postseason play Friday against No. 5 seed Cheyenne Moun­­tain Indians.

“We had a great season and we’ll try to keep it going,” Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said.

If Steamboat can survive that first-round game, defending state champ Lewis-Palmer, 18-1, would likely await Saturday.

Steamboat hasn’t faced either team this season, but it does have plenty of experience with Cheyenne Mountain and Lewis-Palmer. The Sailors switched leagues this year, but spent nearly a decade playing the two schools in the Peak Conference.

Last year, Steamboat beat Lewis-Palmer, 3-2, but fell to Cheyenne Mountain 3-1.

The Indians, 10-9, have struggled late this season, dropping three of their last four, but the team has playoff and big-game experience. That win against Steamboat a year ago was an upset and helped power the team to the semifinal round of the state playoffs.

“Last year, they were just peaking at the right time. We’ll be prepared for that,” Ruff said. “Our guys have to come ready to play, and play our style of hockey without panic, running around or trying to be too fancy.”

That panic wasn’t something Steamboat avoided throughout the weekend, when a late-season swoon dashed the Sailors’ hopes of playing host to a four-team pod in the tournament.

Steamboat lost both of its weekend games, but Ruff said that stumble didn’t ruin his team’s playoff hopes.

“We have a little familiarity with these teams,” Ruff said. “This isn’t a bad draw. When you eliminate half the teams in high school hockey and cut it down to the top 16, they’re all good and you have to go play.”

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or e-mail

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