Steamboat’s Christian Ramirez, left, and C.J. Walt battle a Summit player for the puck.

Mark Fox/Summit Daily News

Steamboat’s Christian Ramirez, left, and C.J. Walt battle a Summit player for the puck.

Steamboat hockey beats Summit, 4-1

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— The Steamboat Springs Sailors scored three first-period goals, and the Summit High hockey team was never able to claw its way back Saturday on a strange afternoon at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge.

Senior goaltender Erik Owen stood tall in net, making 24 saves and leading the visiting Sailors to a 4-1 win against the Tigers.

“I felt we started the game real well,” Steamboat head coach Jeff Ruff said. “We got a jump on them and got a goal in the first minute of the game.”

The quick start seemed even more impressive given what took place only moments earlier.

Just prior to the game, a parent of a Steamboat player collapsed in the penalty box area during the national anthem. By the time paramedics led the man out of the arena on a stretcher, he had regained consciousness, and witnesses said he was alert and talking.

Still, the incident had both teams a little rattled and left the crowd oddly silent for the opening face-off.

The mood shifted, though, when the Sailors’ John Whar­ton buried a pass from Lance Ostrom on a 2-on-1 only 53 seconds into the game.

The Tigers struggled to match the Sailors’ pace early on and gave up two power play goals late in the period, one by Grant McCannon and the other by Blayne Conroy.

“When we have the odd-man advantage, we have to be able to capitalize on that, and we did,” Ruff said.

The Tigers fought back the rest of the way, though, outplaying the Sailors in nearly every facet except on the scoreboard.

Summit generated a few quality chances in the second period but kept coming up empty.

After drawing a penalty with 1:11 remaining, Tigers captain Kyle Metzger rifled a shot toward the top-left corner of the net, only for the puck to catch the knob of Owen’s stick and redirect out of play.

The Tigers continued the pressure in the third, while senior goaltender Andrew Dun­­­lap came up with a pair of impressive saves on odd-man rushes to keep Summit within striking distance.

Metzger broke the shutout at 2:23 of the third, when he took the puck off a clean face-off win from sophomore Sean Farley and sniped a shot just above Owen’s outstretched glove.

The Tigers wouldn’t get any closer, though, and Ostrom’s empty-netter put the game away.

“Overall, I’m happy with the way the guys played,” Ruff said. “There’s always going to be things we’ll continue to work on, but overall, I’m happy with the way they played the game.”

The Steamboat hockey team next plays at 6 p.m. Friday at Pine Creek.

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