Sailors find balance in Doherty matchup

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— Steamboat Springs hockey coach Jeff Ruff had been looking for balanced scoring all year.

In the early part of the season the first line had been scoring most - if not all -the goals for the Sailors.

Now, it seems like everyone is getting on the scoresheet.

In Saturday's 7-1 win against Doherty, six different Sailors scored, including three goals from the second line.

"We weren't relying on the No.1 line for all the goals. The No. 2 line came up big (Saturday)," Ruff said. "We need other guys to start coming on, and boy they really are."

Billy Taylor scored two goals and Cam Fritz, Eric Bonner, Gus Worden, Greg Ingalls and Jake Stanford scored for the Sailors.

After downing Mitchell 8-1 on Friday, in a game where the Sailors (7-1-1 overall, 3-1 in conference play) played a sloppy second period, Ruff said he challenged the Sailors to play a full three periods.

Saturday, Ruff said the Sailors responded.

"We don't want to let opponents off the hook. We want to make our opponent work," Ruff said. "All in all, it was two and three quarters of strong periods, and we're happy with the result."

The Sailors have now outscored their previous three opponents by a score of 23-3. Admittedly, Ruff said the competition hasn't been where he would have liked it, but he said the stretch has given him an opportunity to try new lines, plays and sets.

"Our starting lines are coming together nice," he said. "I think these are the combinations we are going to use for the rest of the season."

The Sailors will play Kent Denver on Wednesday, and Ruff said Kent is one of the

top six or eight teams in the state.

He said the Sailors have put in a new power play and several different offensive sets that need to be refined before Wednesday's game.

Still, he was happy to get out of the weekend with two wins.

"The big thing that really came out of this weekend is our team is starting to work and gel as a team," he said. "I think they found if they pursue the puck and control the pace, then the other teams have to play us as opposed to us playing them."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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