Steamboat hockey rallies but can't seal win against Ralston Valley

Team preps for playoff matchup

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The Steamboat Springs High School hockey team made a furious comeback Saturday and rang a shot off the post in the final five seconds in a 5-4 loss at Ralston Valley.

Steamboat fell behind, 5-1, in the third period before staging a staggering comeback.

“I’m real proud of our guys and the way they battled back after being down 5-1,” Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. “We just gave away a few too many power play goals. But we played well and matched their pace.”

Ralston Valley, who locked up the Foothills Conference championship with the win, got an early power play goal to make it 1-0. Steamboat’s Jarret Walt answered with an unassisted tally to make tie it at 1 heading into the second period.

But Ralston Valley took a 3-1 lead in the second, and led 5-1 early in the third period thanks to two more power play goals.

But Steamboat stormed back.

Ben Wharton and Quinn Cain added back-to-back goals midway through the third to make it 5-3.

Michael Samuelson scored with 23 seconds remaining, and the Sailors hit the post in the final five seconds for the final result.

In goal, Steamboat’s Trent Trask made 37 saves.

“It’s huge for us to play this well,” Ruff said. “That’s what I told them at the beginning. We have to walk away with confidence and know we can play up to this level.”

While nothing is certain until the Colorado High School Activities Association releases the brackets Sunday, Steamboat will be the No. 8 and final seed out of the Foothills Conference.

The team most likely will play Bishop Machebeuf — the No. 1 seed from the Peak Conference — in the first round.

“I think having watched them play, our guys feel confident they can come in and play hard and we can be successful,” Ruff said.

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

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