Tuesday, December 6, 2005
The Steamboat Springs High School hockey team got a solid defensive showing from goaltender Jeff Dawes and took advantage of its scoring opportunities en route to winning the King of the Mountain Tournament in Aspen during the weekend.
"I think we earned a lot of respect from the other teams in our league," coach Dave Strang said. "I'm not surprised we won. This is the hardest-working group of players I've ever had, and we have a great chemistry in the locker room."
The Sailors faced Summit County in the first game of the season Friday night, and they skated to a 5-2 victory.
Steamboat jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and held a 3-2 advantage after two periods. The Sailors netted two goals in the final period. Jacob Pearson, Jake Stanford, Cam Fritz and Jon Reese scored goals.
"Summit was a stronger team than we anticipated," Strang said. "I think our guys were a little nervous in the first period but just kept getting stronger as the game went on."
Strang was pleased with Dawes' performance between the pipes and was glad to see the Sailors take advantage of power plays.
The victory set up a match against Aspen -- a team the Sailors have not beaten in the three seasons since hockey became a sanctioned sport at the high school.
But that changed when freshman Grant Ehrick caught Aspen in a line change with 6 minutes and 53 seconds left in the first period. He scored the first goal of Steamboat's three goals en route to a 3-1 victory.
The Sailors also were changing lines, but instead of standing behind the net and waiting for his players to get on the ice, Ehrick made a scoring run.
"It was nice because he saw the other team making a change and made an aggressive move," assistant coach Jeff Ruff said. "He didn't run into an Aspen player until he got to the blue line, and then he made a great individual move to get the puck behind the net. He was able to shovel the puck in front of the goal and ended up scoring."
A few minutes later, Sailor Jim Terry added a power-play goal to put Steamboat ahead 2-0 at the end of the period.
Steamboat extended its lead to 3-0 in the second when Pearson scored a goal. Terry and Stanford assisted.
Aspen's only goal came later in the second period from junior Nicky Anastas.
Aspen came out hard in the third period but couldn't get the puck past the Steamboat goalkeeper. Dawes, who had 20 saves in the game, made a couple of impressive blocks in the final minutes of the third period.
Strang said it was a great start to the season for the Steamboat team, which will host Liberty at 1:15 p.m. Saturday at Howelsen Ice Arena.
"We opened the season with six great periods of hockey," Strang said. "Our kids are focused on what they have to do on the ice, and that's a recipe for a great hockey team. We just have to keep taking it period by period."