No. 2 Steamboat hockey hosts Kent Denver tonight

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— If the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team wasn’t already guaranteed to face other teams’ best efforts, Thursday’s revelation certainly will make it so.

The Sailors — 9-1 overall, 5-0 in the Foothills Conference and winners of five in a row — were ranked No. 2 in the state by The Denver Post on Thursday.

So as Steamboat prepares to play at 6:30 p.m. today at home against Kent Denver, a team it hasn’t played since 2006, does the ranking really mean that much?

“I don’t think it really does,” Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. “Really, I would say that if we have the No. 2 ranking after next weekend, I’d be a lot happier with that. We haven’t seen the top four teams in our conference yet.”

Steamboat gets its chance next week when the team plays Ralston Valley and Regis, but before then, it has to get through an up-and-down Kent Denver team.

Ruff said the Sun Devils are a bit of an unknown and said the key is for the Sailors to play their game.

“As long as we stay tight and go out and execute the game plan we want to execute, we should be in good shape,” he said.

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