Sailors lose but progress

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Like the players on Colorado's other mountain hockey teams, Steamboat Springs' players spent the fall playing and practicing.

The difference was, while players from Aspen, Battle Mountain and Summit were on the ice, the boys on Steamboat's team were on the football and soccer fields or tennis courts.

Consequently, Sailors coach Dave Strang has crammed as many game situations and scenarios as possible into the few weeks he has had with the team.

On Friday, Steamboat fell to Aspen, 4-1. On Saturday, in the consolation game against Summit, Steamboat lost, 3-2, to finish fourth in the inaugural King of the Mountain tournament.

The Sailors are disappointed by the loss, Strang said, but there were positives Steamboat could take away from the tournament.

"We needed to play a couple games," Strang said. "We got a lot of great looks."

The Sailors didn't have their lines set heading into the weekend tournament because they had so many new players and little time to solidify lines. After the losses to Aspen and Summit, Strang has a better idea of which direction to go.

In Friday's game, junior Sam Gary and senior Chris Baumann, along with senior Clay McKenzie, hooked up for Steamboat's lone goal against Aspen.

In Saturday's loss, the Sailors were just 2 of 11 on power plays, which doesn't appear successful at first. But considering the team has spent just 30 minutes practicing power plays, scoring twice is worth noting.

The Sailors scored both their goals off face-offs. Strang said Steamboat doesn't run any special plays off the face-off. The two goals that were scored as soon as a Summit player sat down in the penalty box were a matter of good execution when the opportunity presented itself.

Steamboat scored first against Summit at the 11 minute, 49 second mark of the first period off junior Gary's second goal of the season. Senior Baumann was credited with the assist, his second of the season, as well.

Summit evened the score two minutes later on Cam Carlson's first goal of the game. Jonathan Walsh was given the assist. Carlson scored all three of the Tigers' goals to finish with a hat trick.

In fact, the only thing that slowed Carlson down was the penalty box, which he visited twice. He also picked up a misconduct call after the final whistle, which will carry over into his next game.

Summit finished with 12 penalties, including two 10-minute majors for misconduct. Steamboat had six penalties, and both teams' penalty killing units did a good job.

The Tigers pulled out to a 3-1 lead in the second period before the Sailors struck back nearly halfway in off senior Nate Corum's first goal of the season.

Sophomore Jace Bonner was given the assist.

Neither team scored in the third. In both weekend games, Steamboat's defense held the opponent scoreless in the third.

Freshman Jeff Dawes turned away eight of 11 shots on goal. Summit goalie Seth Wickham stopped 26 of Steamboat's 28 shots on goal.

Steamboat (0-2) is back on the ice against league opponent Pine Creek on Friday in Colorado Springs.

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