Three first-period goals by Steamboat's high-powered offense gave the Sailors the cushion they needed to skate to a 7-4 win against Colorado Academy on Friday night at Howelsen Ice Arena.
"We came out strong in the first period, and that was the key to our game," coach Dave Strang said. "We wanted to put the other team down a few goals to get things rolling and then feed off of that."
The scoring chances came early for the Sailors in Friday night's game.
Steamboat's Clay McKenzie netted the first goal at 13:25 in the first period after getting an assist from teammates forward Chris Baumann and defenseman Brad Bonner. Sam Gary added to the Sailors total with 3:32 left in the first after getting set up by teammates Nate Coram on Alec Idoni. Then with 2:18 left, Baumann scored his first goal of the night to give Steamboat a 3-0 lead. Tanner Grimes assisted on the play.
"We had some good passing, and we just capitalized on our chances," Baumann said after the game.
Zach Sears got Colorado Academy on the board with 12:48 left in the second after getting an assist from Taylor Foust.
But before the Mustangs could rally, Baumann put the game out of reach with back-to-back scores.
The first came with 10:31 left in the period and was assisted by Chris Ruff. The second was unassisted and came on a power play with 8:18 left.
Colorado Academy's Shane Andersen scored for the Mustangs with 41 seconds remaining in the period, but before the buzzer sounded, Steamboat's Grimes set up Coram for a back-door goal to make the score 6-2 headed into the third.
Steamboat came out running in the third, as Coram took the puck at mid-ice and skated past a pair of Colorado Academy defenders before scoring an unassisted goal with 11:34 to play in the third.
It seemed as if the Sailors were in control during the period, but a couple of lapses allowed Colorado Academy's Dan Fullerton and Micah Schuette to score. However, the Mustangs never made a real run at Steamboat.
"I was happy with the intensity the first and second periods," Strang said. "But in the third period, we kind of got a little loose there. We strayed a little bit from the solid team play that we've been trying to get them to do."
Still, the coach was happy with his team's play in front of the net most of the night.
"We spent this week working on some of the small, little plays -- bouncing pucks in front of the net to pick up rebounds -- and it really paid off in this game," Strang said. "We had some real positives. We are finishing the plays we are creating."
Steamboat will try to keep things rolling today when the Sailors take on Pine Creek at 1:15 p.m.
Baumann said Steamboat is looking to avenge a 2-1 loss to Pine Creek earlier this season, despite outshooting and outplaying them.
"We just couldn't find the back of the net the first time we played them," Strang said. "Hopefully with the success we've been having scoring goals, it will be different this time."