Steamboat Springs hockey opens season with convincing win |

Steamboat Springs hockey opens season with convincing win

Luke Graham

— As far as debuts go, that was pretty darn good, Brent Tollar.

Prior to Wednesday's game against Battle Mountain, the first-year Steamboat Springs High School hockey coach had talked about a relentless movement of the puck, cycling it as one unit and winning battles.

Steamboat accomplished all of that in a tidy 8-2 win.

"Yeah there were some nerves," Tollar said about his debut. "You know, first game, new coach, new kids. But we got a lot of movement. They really bought in that we all move together. We all move the puck."

It turned out to be a surgeon's clinic in the neutral zone. Steamboat put up a second residence between the blue lines, trapping the puck and limiting anything Battle Mountain could do.

When the Sailors did get it in the offensive zone, they seemed to win every puck. Of the team's eight goals, five came from right in front of the net.

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"They scored around the net. We've got to be better there," Huskies coach Gary Defina said. "The game is won and lost at the net, and that's where we lost it."

Defensemen Ryan Walker and Christian Ramirez got the scoring going in the first period on a pair of near-identical shots. Each rifled shots from just inside the blue line to give Steamboat a 2-0 lead.

The biggest play, however, came late in the first period when Sailors goaltender Trent Trask — unchallenged up until that point — stopped a Battle Mountain breakaway in the waning seconds to keep it 2-0.

"Talk about setting the pace," Tollar said. "That's a huge save. We came out reinvigorated."

Steamboat all but decided the game 59 seconds into the second period. Jarret Walt pounded one home in front of the net, and Ben Wharton followed on a rebound to double the Sailors lead one shift into the second period.

"That crushed us," Defina said.

Wharton would add two more goals for a hat trick, and Michael Samuelson and Ramirez added third-period goals for the final result.

The Huskies got tallies from Hunter Henderson and a short-handed goal from Bjorn Bredeson.

"We just put constant pressure on," Wharton said. "We controlled the game and played really well."

Although it's just the first game in a rivalry lush with chippy play, Steamboat deployed its new attack. And if it's any indication, the Sailors could be a tough out for anyone.

"I don't think any team will think we won't come out and play hard," said Tollar, whose team outshot the Huskies, 49-20. "I want the rest of the state to look at us as a blue-collar team."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

By the numbers

Steamboat Springs 8, Battle Mountain 2

Battle Mountain: 0-1-1 — 2

Steamboat Spring: 2-3-3 — 8

First period: 1, Steamboat Springs, Ryan Walker (Jordan Gorr and Jarret Walt) 5:22 (pp). 2, SS, Christian Ramirez (Walker and Ben Wharton), 13:18.

Second period: 3, SS, Walt, 0:10. 4, SS, Wharton (Matt Hale) 0:59. 5, SS, Wharton (Jackson Perry and Hale), 10:06. 6, Battle Mountain, Hunter Henderson (Ben Hymes), 13:10 (pp).

Third period: 7, SS, Wharton (Gorr), 2:10. 8, BM, Bjorn Bredeson (Clayton Davis), 6:20 (sh). 9, SS, Michael Samuelson (Alex Elliott and Walt), 12:39. 10, SS, Ramirez (Dillion Chapman), 13:44.

Shots on goal: Battle Mountain 8-7-5 — 20; Steamboat Springs 16-14-19 — 49. Power-play opportunities: Battle Mountain 1-7; Steamboat Springs 1-5. Goalies: Battle Mountain, Grant Johnson (49 shots-41 saves). Steamboat Springs, Trent Trask (20-18).