Steamboat Springs A lopsided defeat is not what coach Dave Strang wanted or expected from the Steamboat Springs hockey team heading into the postseason.
But it's what he got.
Steamboat fell to Aspen 10-3 in front of the Howelsen Ice Arena crowd Friday night, bringing the Sailors' inaugural regular season to a disappointing conclusion.
"I expected a lot more," Strang said.
The coach felt the Sailors lacked "all those things that are hard to teach teen-agers," like effort, commitment and pride, surprising considering it was the final home game for Steamboat this season.
The players didn't want to talk about the game following the loss.
Playoffs open next weekend against an opponent and at a site yet to be determined.
Should Steamboat (8-8 overall and 6-6 in league play) meet Aspen down the road, there are certainly areas of concern for the Sailors both defensively and offensively.
Heading into Friday's contest, Strang said Steamboat's defense would have to play strong to counter Aspen's excellent finishing ability. Surrendering 10 goals isn't what anyone on the Steamboat bench had in mind.
Half of the Skiers' goals came on the power play, including all four scores in the third period.
Aspen netted the first four goals of the contest and tacked on the final four, distancing itself from Steamboat in the first eight minutes of Friday's contest and thwarting any hope for a home-team comeback in the final eight minutes.
For the game, the Skiers had 36 shots on goal to just 22 for the Sailors.
Offensively, Strang said, he wants his players to step up, demand the puck and finish plays.
Sophomore Chris Baumann responded to the coach's challenge in the closing minute of both the first and second periods on Friday.
A defenseman by nature and by attitude, Baumann shoved the puck past Aspen starting goalie Kris Young in the closing seconds of the first period, cutting the Skiers' first-period lead to 4-2.
Casey Earp netted Steamboat's first goal at the 1:57-mark in the first off an assist from Nick Pruett.
With just 45 seconds left in the second, Baumann fired a laser slap shot from the wing past the glove side of substitute goalie Jesse Amory.
"We don't care who finishes right now," Strang said.
However, it was the final time Steamboat scored Friday, as the penalty box door swung open frequently in the third for the Sailors, evening things out after the Skiers' got handed a majority of the penalties in the first two periods.
Leading the way for Aspen offensively was Joey Carlson and Anders Head, who each had two goals for the Skiers. Reid Hansen and Tyler Horn had one goal and two assists apiece for Aspen as well.
Following the defeat, Strang expressed his disappointment but told the team there is time to correct what went wrong as the Sailors practice this week. Steamboat is capable of playing with teams like Aspen when it decides to play hard for three periods, Strang has said.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org