Sailors hockey readies for 2 big conference games

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— Steamboat Springs High School hockey coach Jeff Ruff called it the second period of his team’s season.

It’s also the most important to date.

Steamboat, 5-1, opens the post-holiday schedule with a pair of Foothills Conference games. Steamboat plays at 6:30 p.m. today against Monarch and at 3 p.m. Saturday against Summit. Both games are at Howelsen Ice Arena.

“We know what we’re capable of,” Ruff said. “We’ve played well, and we’ve had moments where we haven’t played well. We need to play with a higher skill level and don’t allow those lapses in concentration.”

It’s still early in the season, so there is little clarity in the Foothills Conference picture. But considering how playoff seeding will be directly related to how teams finish in their conference, Ruff said this weekend’s games are all the more important in trying to create separation at the top of the conference.

“I believe they are both must-win games,” he said.

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