Steamboat Springs and Regis skated to a 2-2 tie in Saturday's matinee at Howelsen Ice Arena.
The high school game and a slate of youth club games were scheduled at the rink Saturday afternoon, but Regis, based in Aurora, was the only full team able to make it to Steamboat because of weather conditions.
Through the game's first 15 minutes, however, the Raiders probably would have preferred to be back on their charter bus.
The Sailors moved out to a quick 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the first period off a goal from senior Matt Legrice. Junior Ryan Brees was credited with an assist on the play.
Steamboat extended its lead less than five minutes later off a goal from senior Chris Timmerman on an assist from senior Phil Bush.
The Sailors had just five shots on goal in the first period, scoring on two, while Steamboat senior goalie Cooper Lee turned away 11 Regis shots.
"We were real happy with what we did in the first period," Sailors coach Dave Strang said. "Then, strange things started happening, and we couldn't keep our lines together. The guys started worrying about things they can't worry about."
In other words, the Steamboat hockey players became distracted by the way the game was being officiated.
Various Sailors players were whistled for 13 penalties during the game, spending a total of 28 minutes -- nearly two periods -- in the penalty box. Regis, meanwhile, was called for seven penalties in the game.
Consequently, the Raiders were able to overcome a two-goal deficit and tie the game in the third period.
Both Regis' scores came with Steamboat on the penalty kill. The Raiders' game-tying goal -- a successful penalty shot off the stick of Chris Rabe -- came while the Raiders had a 5-on-3 advantage.
Rabe was granted the penalty shot after Steamboat defenseman Clay McKenzie fell on the puck in the crease.
Regis' first goal, scored by Craig Owens, came on a Raiders' power play.
Before Saturday's game, assistant Jeff Ruff said the matchup against Regis would be indicative of how Steamboat would fare in league play.
After skating to an early lead, and looking like the better team when at full strength, Steamboat was disappointed with a tie.
Two positives for the Sailors were the play of Lee, who made 39 saves Saturday, and Steamboat's defensive play, particularly on penalty kills.
However, Regis managed to outshoot Steamboat, 41-19, including overtime. The Sailors aim to have 30 shots on goal a game, Strang said.
But it is apparent the Sailors have the talent to compete with the better teams in the Mountain League, such as Regis.
"We know we are right there," Strang said.
With the tie, Steamboat moves to 4-1-1 on the season and 1-0-1 in league play. The Sailors return to action at 6:30 p.m. Friday when they host league opponent Rampart at Howelsen Ice Arena.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org