Sailors hockey bounces back against Liberty

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Steamboat Springs hockey coach Jeff Ruff thinks it's weekends like this one that could propel his team to great heights this season.

A day after losing their first game of the season to 2006 state runner-up Cheyenne Mountain, the Sailors bounced back in emphatic fashion, downing Liberty, 8-0, on Saturday in Colorado Springs.

"We came out and played well," Ruff said. "They wanted to play a good game. I think they wanted to prove that they could play a good game."

Ruff said the game was never in doubt as the Sailors (5-1-1) came out like a completely different team than the one that lost Friday.

Ruff was especially pleased with the distribution of the scoring against Liberty. In previous games, the first line had dominated score sheets. But on Saturday, six players recorded goals.

Billy Taylor and Greg Ingalls each scored two goals and Jake Stanford, Cam Fritz, Timmy Rabbitt and Jon Winkelblech each scored a goal.

"We need that to happen," Ruff said. "That's really going to help us."

Ruff contributed part of Friday's loss to the six-hour trip to Colorado Springs. He said the Sailors came out slow against Cheyenne Mountain and fell behind 1-0 early.

On Saturday, Ruff said he challenged the Sailors to put the loss behind them and jump on Liberty.

"In Friday's game, we didn't have the jump we needed," Ruff said. "Coming off the long drive with the weather, we didn't come out with the jump or the intensity. In (Saturday's) game, we played hard and executed."

The win evened up the Sailors' conference record at 1-1, and Ruff said the Sailors have put the letdown against Cheyenne Mountain behind them.

"We're looking forward to the next weekend and continuing to work on the things that we need to do to execute and to be successful to compete with those top teams," he said.

"We need to be able to play our best game every time we get out on the ice."

The Sailors play Friday at Mitchell. Steamboat's next home game is Jan. 19 against Lewis-Palmer.

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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