Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Although finishing strong is always important in sports, the Steamboat Springs hockey team is learning that starting strong makes a huge difference, too.
The Sailors won one and lost one game in a two-day road trip to Denver last weekend. On Friday, Steamboat came out flat against Kent Denver and lost, 7-2, but the Sailors responded Saturday, pulling ahead by four goals en route to beating Colorado Academy, 6-3.
"Kent Denver was more prepared to play in the first period than we were," Steamboat assistant coach Jeff Ruff said. "In the second period, we played real well, but it's tough to come back against a team like Kent. Teams feed on success when they go up like that. They didn't stop playing. They played harder."
The Sun Devils scored three first-period goals. Two of them were on power plays, as the Sailors scrambled to try to kill four penalties. Kent Denver, meanwhile, played at full strength for the entire first period.
Steamboat got on the board with 25 seconds left in the second period off a power-play goal from Chris Baumann, who continues to finish well for the Sailors. Brad Bonner was given the assist. Baumann scored Steamboat's other goal at the 3:02 mark of the third period on an assist from Jake Stanford.
Baumann also had one goal called back after he deflected it from the air into the net, but the referee ruled his stick was too high on the deflection to allow the goal.
Kent Denver and Steamboat each scored one goal in the second period, but Kent Denver added three more in the third for an easy win. The Sailors put freshman goalie Jeff Dawes into the game in the third period to give him some experience against a talented opponent.
"It was a real good experience for Jeff," Ruff said. "He learned a lot in that game. That's as tough a team as he's ever played against.
"The Kent game is a prime example of what happens when you let the other team come out in the first period and dominate. It underscores the importance of being prepared to play," he said.
Senior Randy Rule was back in net Saturday and, along with the Steamboat defense, shut out Colorado Academy through two periods of hockey. Dawes came in to gain more experience on the road late in the second period.
"We came out in the first period really strong," Ruff said.
Against Colorado Academy, Baumann scored Steamboat's first two goals, and Sam Gary added a third in the first period. Stanford and Jace Bonner were given assists on Baumann's first goal. Brad Bonner had the assist on Gary's first goal.
Gary scored his second goal with 1:31 left in the second period off a pass from Brad Bonner.
The Mustangs got a goal past Dawes at the 12:12 mark of the third and added another two minutes later to cut Steamboat's lead to two goals, but the Sailors responded with two goals in 30 seconds shortly thereafter to go back up by four.
Daniel Coloccia scored with 8:46 left off assists from Stanford and Clay McKenzie. Jimmy Terry scored Steamboat's final goal off an assist from Brad Bonner. Terry, Greg Ingalls and Cam Fritz have been added to Steamboat's roster as an additional line for several games to introduce them gradually to high school hockey.
Steamboat's overall record is 7-9 overall. The Sailors have the weekend off and won't play again until they host Air Academy at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11. The Kadets are one of the state's best teams.