If you go
What: Steamboat hockey vs. Liberty
When: 6:30 p.m. today
Where: Howelsen Ice Arena
If you go
What: Steamboat boys and girls basketball vs. Rifle
When: Girls start at 6 p.m. today, boys start at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Steamboat Springs High School
Steamboat Springs After passing a Western Slope League road test last weekend, the Steamboat Springs High School boys and girls basketball teams can use this weekend to establish themselves as the teams to beat in league play.
The Sailors host Rifle today before traveling to Glenwood Springs on Saturday. The girls play at 6 p.m. today, with the boys to follow at 7:30 p.m. The girls play at 4 p.m. Saturday, with the boys tipping off at about 5:30 p.m.
The girls battle with Rifle will determine the league leader, as both teams enter tonight’s game with 4-0 records in league play.
The Bears are an athletic group that will press on defense, but judging from last weekend’s one-point wins against Delta and Palisade, Steamboat appears ready for the challenge.
“You can feel the change in mentality,” said senior Emi Birch, who made the game-winning basket against Palisade. “Every year I’ve played, there hasn’t been that mentality. It’s definitely changed this year. The expectation is to go in and win.”
For the boys, it’s also an opportunity to create some distance in the league. Rifle is 3-1 in league play, while Glenwood is perfect.
Steamboat will be a week healthier and proved last weekend it can win with its defense. Although the Sailors have been far from perfect on the offensive end, Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe said that offensive consistency is coming.
“They are both really big games and an opportunity for us to set a precedent and be the team to beat,” he said. “Hopefully we can compete with two really good teams.”
Sailors hockey team set for home game today
Considering the slate of games ahead, today will be a nice reprieve for the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team.
Steamboat, at 7-2-2, welcomes 0-12 Liberty for a 6:45 p.m. game today at Howelsen Ice Arena.
The Sailors are coming off three games in four days against some of the best teams in the Peak Conference. Steamboat emerged from that stretch 2-1 and leads the conference.
Although Liberty is winless, Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said that with the way the conference is shaping up, every game is important.
“We haven’t discussed not necessarily staying up,” Ruff said. “If you look at the way conference is unfolding, it’s hard not to be up for this type of game.”
The one-game weekend slate is a nice break for his team. Ruff said this week has been spent trying to rest his players. Starting in February, Steamboat hits a stretch where the team plays its final six games in a 10-day span.
“We’ve been able to take a few days,” Ruff said. “We’re using it as way to recharge in preparation for the playoff push.”