Steamboat Springs Junior Lance Ostrom takes a shot against Chatfield goalkeeper Matt Smith in the third period of Friday night's game at the Howelsen Ice Arena. Ostrom scored in the third period to pull the Sailors within a goal of the top-ranked Chargers, but two late goals helped Chatfield escape Steamboat Springs with the win.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs Junior Lance Ostrom takes a shot against Chatfield goalkeeper Matt Smith in the third period of Friday night's game at the Howelsen Ice Arena. Ostrom scored in the third period to pull the Sailors within a goal of the top-ranked Chargers, but two late goals helped Chatfield escape Steamboat Springs with the win.

Chatfield tops Steamboat hockey team, 4-1

Late goals help No. 3-ranked team pass Sailors hockey team, 4-1

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Steamboat Springs’ senior Jake Bearss passes the puck in front of the Chatfield goal in the first period of Friday night's game at Howelsen Ice Arena.

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Steamboat Springs’ goalkeeper Erik Owen turns away a Chatfield shot in the second period of Friday night's game at Howelsen Ice Area. Owen had 30 saves in the 4-1 loss.

— Lance Ostrom’s goal just more than two minutes into the third period gave hope to the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team in its showdown with No. 3 Chatfield on Friday night at Howelsen Ice Arena.

But the rally was short-lived.

Two late goals helped Chat­­field (16-3-0), which led the game 2-0 through the first two periods, dowse any hopes of a comeback. Chatfield went on to defeat the hometown Sailors, 4-1.

“We made some mistakes,” Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. “Against these better teams, when you make those mistakes and somebody doesn’t pick up their man in the defensive zone, they make you pay. That’s a lesson we have to learn.”

Chatfield’s Kyle Davis and Conner Elliot cashed in on Steamboat’s lapses in the first period. Davis scored the first of his two goals 1 minute, 33 seconds into the contest to put the visitors up, 1-0. Elliot extended Chatfield’s lead at the 7:12 mark, scoring his goal with the help of teammates Nick Heffner and Jeff Dawkins.

“We knew they were going to come hard all night, and we knew we needed to have a good game” said Ostrom, a junior. “We made a few mistakes and they capitalized on them, they made a couple of great plays, and we were not quite on top of our game.”

Despite falling behind, Steam­­boat (13-4-0) continued to push the pace of the game. The home team didn’t give up any goals in the second, but they didn’t get any either. The Sailors spent much of the period shorthanded and were forced to kill several Chatfield power plays in the period.

Steamboat’s determination finally paid off in the third period when Ostrom beat Chatfield goalie Matt Smith, who finished the night with 28 saves, to make the score 2-1. But the goal seemed to spark the Chatfield team instead.

“I thought our players responded well in the second and third periods,” Ruff said. “We were pushing real hard, but in all that effort to create offense and to get the game-tying goal, we forget to pick a man in our zone and bang, one goes in, and then they are excited and another one goes in. We cannot allow those types of goals against these teams.”

Chatfield coach Bradd Mark­­usch expected a tough game against the No. 4 Sailors and said the way the game unfolded has been typical of Chatfield’s season.

“That’s how things have gone for us this year,” Markusch said. “We always seem to come up with those late goals when we need them.”

Things will not get any easier for Steamboat today as the Sailors travel to Westminster to face another high-ranked team in Standley Lake (14-4-0). The game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

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