Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs girls U19 hockey team started the 2010 season much like it ended the 2009 season.
The reigning state champions opened the season during the weekend with a win at the 17th annual Aspen Fall Faceoff tournament. The team went 3-1 in pool play before beating Aspen, 2-1, in the finals.
“We didn’t go in with any preconceived expectations that we should win or lose,” first-year coach Kent Foster said. “Our goal was to play hard and do things we’ve been working on. The girls did a great job of doing that. In the championship against Aspen, they played their hearts out. They played really well.”
Steamboat has about half its team back from last year’s state championship run. Foster said the team went into the tournament wanting to see how all the parts fit.
In pool play, Steamboat split its first two games Friday.
But by Saturday morning, Steamboat had started to play well, picking up a pair of victories.
“That’s when I thought we had a chance to win this,” Foster said.
In the championship game, Aspen took an early 1-0 lead on a breakaway goal by Ariana Buxman.
Steamboat’s Olivia Gorr tied the game on a feed from Meghan Lukens. The two teams remained tied at 1 until halfway through the third period, when Corinne Landy scored the game-winner from the top of the circle.
Steamboat was dominant in the championship game, outshooting Aspen, 24-7.
“Truthfully, it was difficult to say what our expectations were because this team is super young,” Landy said. “We didn’t know what to expect. Coming out of this tournament, we feel good.”
Lukens led the way in the tournament, notching five goals and two assists. Megan Stabile added four goals, and Gorr had three. Steamboat goaltender Aleigh Aurin was solid all tournament.
The team opens its league schedule Saturday and Sunday in Telluride.
“I think the girls feel pretty comfortable,” Foster said. “They feel pretty comfortable they have a chance to repeat as state champions. Their goal is to return. It just validates that, yes, they aren’t setting sights too high. This is what we’re going to do.”