Steamboat Springs It was the intensity the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team was looking for.
A day after struggling to find its game in the opening period against No. 4 Lewis-Palmer, Steamboat came out quick in a 4-1 win against Pueblo County on Saturday.
The Sailors (5-6 overall, 4-2 in conference) scored first, took a 3-1 lead into the third period and dominated the pace of play against the Hornets.
Thanks to a team dinner after Friday's loss and a morning speech urging the team to own its play, Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said the Sailors played the type of game that makes them tough to beat.
"It was absolutely better," Ruff said. "Our guys, I think they realized the intensity they needed to play at to be successful."
While Steamboat was outshot 30-18, Ruff said the quality of shots and opportunities swung heavily in favor of the Sailors.
Freshman Jake Bearss got the scoring started in the first, picking up a puck in front and scoring to give Steamboat a 1-0 lead.
Greg Ingalls and Cam Fritz each scored in the second period, with Ingalls stepping out of the penalty box and scoring on a breakaway to give Steamboat a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
Ingalls - who also had an assist - added a shorthanded goal in the third period to give the Sailors their margin of victory.
"Those guys were great," Ruff said of Steamboat's top line of Ingalls, Billy Taylor and Fritz. "They were a little off (Friday), but we talked to them individually. They regained some focus and played very well for us."
Sophomore goalie Matt Dawes also stopped 29 shots, including a barrage in the first period to keep Steamboat in the game.
Steamboat now returns home to play Rampart at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Doherty at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Ruff said the games are important considering Rampart and Doherty are two teams Steamboat will battle for playoff position.
"As long as we play the kind of hockey we know how to play and dictate the pace, I'm less worried about other teams," Ruff said. "I'm real confident the guys will come out and be successful and play with the intensity and quickness we did" Saturday.