Steamboat Springs hockey team likely scores postseason berth
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs High School hockey team almost assuredly wrapped up a playoff spot by finishing 1-1 during the weekend against Palmer and Pine Creek.
Steamboat lost 2-0 to Palmer on Friday before coming back with a 2-0 win against Pine Creek on Saturday.
“We played good hockey,” Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. “In six periods of hockey, we won two periods, tied three and lost one.”
With two conference games remaining, Ruff said the focus is on winning both so the Sailors can get as high a seed as possible in the state playoffs.
“Every conference game is a big win for our seed,” Ruff said. “Our goal now is getting that higher seed. Making the playoffs aside – we’re pretty assured in the playoffs – we need that higher seed.”
Friday against No. 5 Palmer, Ruff said Steamboat had more chances than the Terrors, but Palmer was better able to capitalize on opportunities.
After skating two periods scoreless, for example, the Terrors netted a power play goal after a Sailors penalty, taking a 1-0 lead. With Steamboat pressing to score the equalizer, Palmer added a late breakaway goal to go up 2-0.
Jeff Dawes stopped 30 shots in the losing effort.
“We had more quality opportunities than Palmer did,” Ruff said. “But when the chips got tight and the clock started winding down, they picked up the power play goal.”
On Saturday against Pine Creek, Jake Bearss scored with three minutes left in the period off a rebound. The play was set up when Cody Fritz drove into the zone, skated around a defenseman and put a shot on goal.
After a penalty-plagued second period, Steamboat went up 2-0 in the third period on a Greg Ingalls rebound goal.
Matt Dawes stopped 31 shots in the game.
Steamboat now prepares for a 6:45 p.m. game Wednesday, at home, against powerhouse Battle Mountain.
The Huskies are ranked second in the state and undefeated in conference play. They will come to Steamboat having won 11 consecutive games.
“We’re playing with better teams, but we have to play to beat them,” Ruff said. “If we could knock Battle Mountain off – we haven’t lost to them in our home building in three years – we’ll go into the playoffs with a much higher confidence level.”
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