The Steamboat Springs High School hockey team headed to Colorado Springs on Friday to avenge a sour, home playoff loss to Rampart last season.
All looked to be going as planned with the game locked in a scoreless draw after the first period.
And even when Steamboat found itself trailing 2-1 entering the third period, Jake Stanford's second power-play goal of the game put the Sailors back on track.
Then, Steamboat started racking up the penalties.
"We had some penalty problems in the third," Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. "Five penalties, 10 minutes in the box - that doesn't help, and it makes it hard to get the offense going."
The Rams capitalized with two power-play goals to go up, 4-2.
Sailors center Cam Fritz scored a short-handed goal to cut the lead to one, but the Rams added a late goal to seal a 5-3 victory.
"Our guys learned a lot, and I felt we could compete well," Ruff said. "The score doesn't reflect that we came out hard and played well, but we have to play with more discipline. No matter how well you play, lousy, avoidable penalties become a detriment."
Ruff noted the "stellar" play of Grant Ehrick and Matt Lettunich on the penalty-kill unit, the strong game from Tim Rabbitt as well as solid goaltending from both Matt and Jeff Dawes.
The loss puts the Sailors at 10-5-2 overall and 6-5 in league play. Rampart is 11-7 overall and 7-4 in league play.
Steamboat plays Battle Mountain, the No. 5 team in the Pikes Peak League, in its final game of the regular season at 8 p.m. today in Eagle.
"Our guys are always up to play Battle Mountain," Ruff said. "That will be a good contest."
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