Steamboat Springs Senior Sam Gary's empty-net goal with two seconds left was an exclamation point in Steamboat Springs' 5-2 win against the Mitchell hockey team Friday.
It was the first time the Sailors have scored five or more goals since beating Liberty, 6-0, on Dec. 17.
"It has been unbelievably frustrating," junior Jim Terry said about Steamboat's offensive slump. "We feel great now."
Terry picked up Steamboat's first goal early in the first period off assists from sophomore Michael Weston and senior Jacob Pearson.
"I saw a tight little opening," Terry said.
Terry got the puck near the crease and skated untouched toward Mitchell goalie Daniel Lamb before firing the puck past the goalie.
The Sailors added two more goals in the first period -- both power play goals off the sticks of defensemen.
The first was a beautiful slapshot from junior Jace Bonner from the blue line at the 8:34 mark. Sophomore Jake Stanford and Gary were given the assists.
"Jeff Ruff, one of our coaches, said: 'The defense got our second goal. Let's see if the forwards can match that,'" senior defenseman Michael Rabbitt said.
But defenseman Bjorn Lick--teig was the spoiler. The junior scored the Sailors' third goal -- and second from the defense on the power play -- on a quick shot near the boards with 4:39 left in the first period. Sophomore Cam Fritz and Gary were given the assists.
"A lot of our defensemen have really big shots," Rabbitt said.
The Marauders got right back in the game, scoring twice in 50 seconds late in the first period. Bryce Evans scored an unassisted goal at the 3:30 mark, and his teammate Ryan Pedersen scored his with 2:42 left in the first off assists from Matt Pedersen and Matt Drebes.
"We had a slump late in the first period," Terry said. "We got a little cocky."
Steamboat's defense and goalie Jeff Dawes did not surrender a score for the rest of the game. The Sailors scored two more goals for the 5-2 win. Stanford found the back of the net early in the second period off assists from senior Tanner Grimes and Lickteig. Gary's empty netter with two seconds left in the game was the final score.
Dawes made 16 saves, and his teammates had 41 shots on goal.
Before Friday's game, the seven seniors and their parents were recognized on the ice. This year's seniors are Gary, Grimes, Rabbitt, Pearson, Gundy Schrock, Alec Idoni and Jon Reese. Reese did not play Friday because of a shoulder injury.
Steamboat (11-4 overall) hosts Colorado Academy at 1:15 p.m. today at Howelsen Ice Arena. The Sailors defeated the Mustangs, 2-0, on Jan. 20, but Colorado Academy features one of the best goalies in the state in Jordan Garkow. Today's game can be heard on 100.5 or 107.3 FM.