Steamboat hockey team ties with Chatfield

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— The game, at this point, never seemed in balance.

The Steamboat Springs High School hockey team had played its best period and a half of the season, in arguably its biggest challenge of the year.

Steamboat was staked to a 3-1 lead against Chatfield and had just killed a 5-on-3 penalty, and was looking at a 5-on-3 advantage of its own for 90 seconds.

But then momentum balanced, teetered and completely swung to the Chargers. Chatfield picked up a shorthanded goal and then added one early in the third period to eventually walk out with a 3-3 tie.

“We were down 3-1; I was thinking the floodgates were going to open up on us,” said Chatfield coach Mark Glombecki, who had six players not make the trip because of the flu. “I just told guys not to give up. If you kept fighting, things would eventually go our way.”

It certainly went Steamboat’s way for most of the night.

Chatfield’s Tyler Seltenreich made it 1-0 early in the first period, before Steamboat started to impose its will. Tyler Scott scored on the power play to tie it, ripping a slapper from between the circles. Less than a minute later, Michael Samuelson pounced on a Matt Hale rebound attempt to put Steamboat up 2-1.

Then Jackson Perry deflected a Scott shot to open the second and put the Sailors up 3-1 and in command.

“I’m happy with this team,” Steamboat coach Benny Tollar said. “We come off playing a strong team, tying and being disappointed. A lot of teams would be happy. I’m optimistic that they know they can do better.”

It seemed to be well in hand when Steamboat had a 5-on-3 advantage late in the second period. After Chatfield killed off one penalty, the Chargers’ Collin Erber had the puck just before the blue line on a breakaway. Steamboat goaltender Jesse Draper tried to challenge him in a race to the puck, sprawling out to knock it away near the blue line. But Erber maintained possession and backhanded one into an empty net to cut the deficit to 3-2.

Then, just 1 minutes, 25 seconds into the third, Aaron Thompson centered one from behind the net to Erber, who put it between Draper’s legs for the equalizer.

“It’s huge anytime you get a shorthanded goal. It sparks your team,” Glombecki said. “Things weren’t going our way for most of the game. We were totally out of sync there.”

Draper made amends in the final 30 seconds, stopping a breakaway and sprawling to knock away the ensuing rebound.

Each team had chances in the overtime, but nothing substantial.

It marked the second straight game Steamboat has given up a two-goal lead. But unlike when the team finished off Aspen, on Friday, it cost the Sailors.

The team doesn’t get any breaks as it plays at 3 p.m. Saturday at home against Resurrection Christian, a returning Final Four team from last season.

“If the biggest thing is trying to figure out how to finish a team, then worry about trying to come back on a team, I think we’ll be OK,” Tollar said.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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