Cody Fritz, right, and Grant Ehrick look for a rebound during Saturday's game against Lewis-Palmer. Steamboat lost, 4-0.

Photo by Luke Graham

Cody Fritz, right, and Grant Ehrick look for a rebound during Saturday's game against Lewis-Palmer. Steamboat lost, 4-0.

Sailors have tough day on the ice

Lewis-Palmer hands Steamboat 1st loss of season

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Game statistics

Lewis-Palmer 4, Steamboat Springs 0

SCORE BY PERIOD

Lewis-Palmer 00-02-02-4

Steamboat 00-00-00-0

- First period: none. Penalties - Justin Brame, Lewis-Palmer (head contact), 8:24; Eric Bonner, Steamboat Springs (tripping), 13:55.

- Second period: 1, Lewis-Palmer, Travis Lachner (Joseph Fillo and Travis Fisk), 2:46; 2, Lewis-Palmer, Brame (Zachary Bever and Blake Cogburn), 8:12 sh. Penalties - Grant Ehrick, Steamboat Springs (tripping), :31; Lachner, Lewis-Palmer (high sticking), 6:16; Chris Fisher, Lewis-Palmer (hooking), 10:32; Fillo, Lewis-Palmer (holding), 12:00; Charlie Smith, Steamboat Springs (boarding), 15:00.

- Third period: 3, Lewis-Palmer, Lachner (Cogburn and Brame), 2:12; 4, Lewis-Palmer, Brame (Lachner), 12:43. Penalties - Kyle Lachner, Lewis-Palmer (slashing), 5:24; Cam Mitchell, Lewis-Palmer (hooking), 8:06.

— If Lewis-Palmer hockey coach Steve Fillo's assessment of his team's 4-0 win against Steamboat Springs High School on Saturday is correct, Sailors fans should be encouraged.

Fillo - whose team is ranked second in the state - sees a Sailors squad that has all the potential to make a deep run into the playoffs - a run that could even include round two between the Sailors and the Rangers.

"They are a very good team," Fillo said about Steamboat. "We may very well meet again somewhere down the line late in the playoffs. It won't be early in the playoffs; it'll be late in the playoffs."

On Saturday, however, Fillo and the rest of the Rangers proved they are very deserving of their ranking.

Using a tenacious forecheck and back check, Lewis-Palmer controlled the game from the start of the second period.

The Rangers - who showed up 15 minutes before the game because their bus had to chain up at the Eisenhower Tunnel - got goals from Travis Lachner and Justin Brame early in the second period to build a 2-0 lead.

"That's a well-coached team," Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. "They came in here and stuck to their game plan and executed it. They are fast, and they are tenacious. They beat us to the puck a lot. We knew that was going to be one of the issues we have to deal with. We leave this knowing what level we need to play at to stay competitive."

In the third period - a period that Steamboat usually owns - Lewis-Palmer put the game away early. Just 2:12 into the period, Lachner picked up his second goal of the game. Brame added a late goal for the end result.

"I think we wore them down as the game progressed," Fillo said. "That fatigue showed up on their part."

Steamboat started to play better toward the latter half of the third period, but it couldn't get anything past Lewis-Palmer goalie Brent Schwartz, who stopped all 24 shots he faced. Steamboat goalie Matt Dawes stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced and got high praise from Fillo.

"That Dawes kid is outstanding," Fillo said. "He's something special. He could steal a game for you at anytime. That was the thing : we knew we needed to get him to move."

Steamboat wraps up the preseason at 6-1-0 overall. Ruff said he's happy where his team is at, but he said there always is room for improvement. Especially if the Sailors want to get to the level of the Rangers.

"We are excited about our record," Ruff said. "We know this is going to be the top team in our conference. What we focus on now is cleaning up some of the little things. It's working harder to capture the puck and completing our passes."

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