Steamboat Springs freshman Brady Bender tries to stop a shot by Summit County's James Lowrey after the puck slipped by junior goalkeeper Matt Dawes Saturday in the final game of the King of the Mountain Tournament.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat Springs freshman Brady Bender tries to stop a shot by Summit County's James Lowrey after the puck slipped by junior goalkeeper Matt Dawes Saturday in the final game of the King of the Mountain Tournament.

Steamboat hockey wins home tournament

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Steamboat Springs senior Cody Fritz breaks away from a pack of Summit County players Saturday in the final game of the Mountain Hockey Tournament.

Game statistics

Steamboat 4, Battle Mountain 0

SCORE BY PERIOD

Battle Mountain 00-00-00-0

Steamboat Springs 00-01-03-4

First period - None. Penalties - Blayne Conroy, Steamboat Springs (hooking), 2:18; Daniel Westerberg, Battle Mountain (too many men), 3:31; Connor Tedstrom, Battle Mountain (tripping), 14:12.

Second period - 1, Steamboat Springs, Jake Bearss (Jon Winkelblech), 7:28 (pp). Penalties - Grant Ehrick, Steamboat Springs (tripping), 1:30; Winkelblech, Steamboat Springs (cross checking), 6:25; Cody Kleisinger, Battle Mountain (tripping) 7:28; Ian Anderson, Steamboat Springs (tripping), 10:23.

Third period - 2, Steamboat Springs, Winkelblech (Cody Fritz), :40; 3, Steamboat Springs, Winkelblech (Fritz and Bearss), 7:37; 4, Steamboat Springs, Bearss (Fritz), 12:07. Penalties - Charlie Smith, Steamboat Springs (head checking), 1:44; Kleisinger, Battle Mountain (boarding), 8:19; Baldwin, Battle Mountain (tripping), 10:01.

Steamboat 8, Summit 4

SCORE BY PERIOD

Summit 02-01-01-4

Steamboat 03-00-05-8

First period - 1, Steamboat Springs, Cody Fritz (Jake Bearss and Grant Ehrick), 3:40; 2, Summit, Jon Gutierrez (Kyle Johnson and Brad Zimmerman), 4:33; 3, Steamboat Springs, Fritz (Bearss and Eric Bonner), 5:15; 4, Steamboat Springs, Bearss (Fritz and Ian Anderson), 12:13 (pp); 5, Summit, Shamus O'Neill (Dak Dice and Max O'Neill), 12:35. Penalties - Max O'Neill, Summit (kneeing), 11:12.

Second period - 6, Summit, Zimmerman (James Lowrey and Max O'Neill), 7:07 (sh). Penalties - Charlie Smith, Steamboat Springs (unsportsmanlike conduct), 1:48; Anderson, Steamboat Springs (hooking), 3:34; Max O'Neill, Summit (holding), 3:34; Zimmerman, Summit (cross-checking), 4:57; Shamus O'Neill, Summit (elbowing), 5:43; Sonny Magrino, Summit (interference), 7:36; Fritz, Steamboat Springs (high sticking), 8:04; Zimmerman, Summit (high sticking), 9:27; Fritz, Steamboat Springs (slashing), 11:28; Jon Gutierrez, Summit (too many players), 14:24.

Third period - 7, Steamboat Springs, Winkelblech (Brady Bender and Fritz), :28 (pp); 8, Steamboat Springs, Ehrick (Smith and Jim Whelihan), 2:04; 9, Steamboat Springs, Ehrick (Bonner and Bearss), 5:32 (pp); 10, Summit, Alex Gutierrez (Mac Pitts and Max O'Neill), 10:02; 11, Steamboat Springs, Winkelblech (Fritz and Bearss), 12:49; 12, Steamboat Springs, Bearss (unassisted), 13:56 (en). Penalties - Max O'Neill, Summit (tripping), 3:36; Zimmerman, Summit (elbowing), 3:36; Winkelblech, Steamboat Springs (holding), 4:10; Whelihan, Steamboat Springs (hooking), 6:06; Gus Worden, Steamboat Springs (high sticking), 7:24; Ehrick, Steamboat Springs (hooking), 7:24; Smith, Steamboat Springs (checking from behind), 11:11; Conroy, Steamboat Springs (roughing), 14:19.

Steamboat Springs Hockey, 2008-09

— The King of the Mountain Tournament provided an identity for a Steamboat Springs hockey team looking to find just that.

Steamboat capped off a 4-0 win in the morning against Battle Mountain with an 8-4 win against Summit in the nightcap to win the high school tournament for the third time in four years.

"We're well on our way to finding that identity," Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. "It's the first three games of the season, and we're feeling really good. It was exciting hockey for the fans. One of the things we wanted to prove is we're a hard-working team. Certainly, we have a lot to work on, but I'm happy for the guys."

Steamboat won in every way conceivable. The team overcame a two-goal deficit against Aspen on Friday, skated through Battle Mountain and broke a 3-3, third-period tie with Summit with three goals in the first five minutes of that final frame.

Against Summit - its third game in two days - Steamboat proved to be the better-conditioned team. Tied at 3, Steamboat dominated the first five minutes of play. It started when Jon Winkelblech had a Brady Bender cross bounce off his body and into the net to give Steamboat a 4-3 lead.

Grant Ehrick scored twice in three minutes to give Steamboat a 6-3 lead just 5:32 into the game.

The third period "is the hardest-working period," said Fritz, who finished the tournament with 10 points. "We needed to play, and we did it. We wanted to respond, move our feet and get to the net. It's incredible. That's what we wanted to do. We wanted to score a goal quick in the period, and that's what we did."

After Summit cut the lead to 6-4 with less than five minutes remaining, Winkelblech deflected a Fritz pass in for a 7-4 lead. Bearss added an empty-net goal late for the margin of victory.

"I'm dead," said Steamboat goaltender Matt Dawes, who stopped 101 of 107 shots in the tournament. "I don't know how many shots I faced in that last game, but I left everything out there. I'm going home and going to bed."

Against Battle Mountain, Steamboat had little trouble imposing its will. After a scoreless first period, the first line of Bearss, Fritz and Winkelblech showed potential to be one of the deadliest units in the state.

Bearss started the scoring on the power play early in the second period, when he snuck one just inside the stick side of Battle Mountain goalie Kalen Burnett to give the Sailors a 1-0 lead.

Then, in the third period, Winkelblech scored twice on feeds from Fritz to put Steamboat up, 3-0.

Bearss capped off the rout when he put away a Fritz rebound at the 12:02 mark in the third period.

In the tournament, the Sailors' top three forwards had 12 goals and 13 assists.

"There is definitely some skill out there," Ruff said of his first scoring unit. "Other teams know they're out there. They whirl around, and they're starting to believe in the system. The opportunities are coming."

Although it's a phenomenal start to the season, Ruff cautioned that the Sailors can't get too high on themselves. After Steamboat's previous two tournament wins - in 2005 and 2006 - the Sailors started the season strong before faltering down the stretch.

The difference this year, Ruff said, is this team has a passion to play together and improve each day.

"I think that if this team continues to progress at the level we're seeing," Ruff said, "this team could be dominant."

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