For three periods on Friday night, the members of the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team did everything possible to extend the team's winning streak.
But at the other end of the ice, Air Academy goalkeeper Colin Anonsen stood in the way.
"It was a tough game from the start," Anonsen said. "But once we started playing our own game and stopped worrying about their record, we did all right."
Anonsen stopped 25 shots on goal in the game including eight in the final period that helped the Air Academy Kadets skate away with the 1-0 victory against the previously unbeaten Sailors, who are 6-1 and 0-1 in league play.
It was Anonsen's first shutout of the season
"We played excellent defense," Anonsen said. "I had a lot of help, and we played an awesome game. We did everything right and ended up on top."
After the game, Anonsen may have been treated like the most important player on the ice, but the biggest play of the game came at the other end of the ice with 5:47 left in the first period.
The play began when sophomore Blake Wittenberg fired a shot that was deflected in front of the goal. Teammate Craig Holt batted the puck out of mid air past Steamboat goalkeeper Jeff Dawes.
Dawes, who finished the night with 17 saves, couldn't get to the puck before it landed in the back of the net for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
"Jeff played really well tonight, but they got that lucky bat out of the air," Steamboat's Tanner Grimes said. "It happens."
But although the game turned on that single goal, Grimes said Air Academy played a solid game from start to finish and earned the victory on the ice.
"They played really well in front of the net," Grimes said. '"They never let us skate in front, and they never let us get any clean shots, which is why we didn't score."
Coach Dave Strang thought the Sailors out-passed, out-shot and out-hit the Air Academy team Friday night, but they couldn't get the puck into the net when they needed to.
"I think they had a little more speed than we anticipated, and they really used the big kids well," Strang said. "Our kids played a fantastic game. We didn't lose because of a lack of trying. We threw the kitchen sink at them. They had a good defensive scheme in their own zone, and they were able to tie our guys up. We didn't get some of the breaks that we've gotten in the past, but I'm not disappointed in the way we played."
Steamboat will attempt to put the first loss of the season behind them when they take on Doherty at 1:15 p.m. today in a league contest.