Steamboat sophomore Christian Ramirez skates for a shot Friday as the Sailors hockey team faced off against Monarch. Ramirez scored for Steamboat in the second period, setting up a 3-2 win for Steamboat.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat sophomore Christian Ramirez skates for a shot Friday as the Sailors hockey team faced off against Monarch. Ramirez scored for Steamboat in the second period, setting up a 3-2 win for Steamboat.

Steamboat hockey skates to win against Monarch

Senior captain Jake Bearss scores game-winning goal

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— As the game shortened and the scored tightened, Steamboat Springs High School’s Jake Bearss did what a hockey captain is supposed to do.

The senior turned in three defining shifts in Friday’s home game against Monarch, capped by a wicked wrister with just more than four minutes remaining in the final period, to help Steamboat to a 3-2 win.

“We definitely needed that,” said Bearss, who just missed several other opportunities earlier in the game. “I felt like someone needed to step up and take control of the game. I wear the C, so I was obligated to do that.”

The game-winner was a testament to Bearss’ early work. For most of the night, he did the dirty work behind the Coyotes net, trying to set up teammates and battling.

But after Monarch’s Grayden Roper tied it at 2 with a backhand goal midway through the period, Bearss took it upon himself.

He gathered the puck in the corner and started skating behind the net, before jutting out in front and burying a wrister through a pair of screens and over Monarch goalie Chris Morrison’s glove hand.

“It was a good response,” Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. “Jake Bearss put the team on his shoulders for a few shifts and really worked hard to show the guys on the bench what intensity and what desire really is.”

Initially, however, the Sailors looked like a team that hadn’t played in 20 days.

In the first matchup between the two schools since Steamboat joined the Foothills Conference, Monarch was quicker to the puck and took advantage of an early Steamboat mistake.

The Sailors attempted to clear the puck in front of their own goal when the Coyotes’ Ian McClung intercepted it and went five-hole to beat Steamboat goalie Erik Owen for a 1-0 lead.

Steamboat finally scored in the second on the power play. After circulating the puck, Chris­­tian Ramirez lasered a shot from the blue line that went top shelf to tie the game at 1.

Ben Wharton pounced on a rebound off of an Alex Elliott shot early in the third to give Steamboat a 2-1 lead, before Bearss took over.

Owen was solid in net in the third period, making three saves in the final four minutes and 24 in the game.

Steamboat, now 6-1, plays Summit at 3 p.m. today at Howelsen Ice Arena. Summit, another conference opponent, enters the contest 5-2. One of Summit’s two losses was a 4-1 defeat to Steamboat.

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