Steamboat's Ben Wharton slips around Golden's Eric Kern in the first period of the Sailors' 16-4 win against the Demons on Friday night.

Photo by Ben Ingersoll

Steamboat's Ben Wharton slips around Golden's Eric Kern in the first period of the Sailors' 16-4 win against the Demons on Friday night.

Sailors boys lacrosse hammers Golden behind Wharton, McCannon

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— It was just a quarter of the way into the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse’s game against Golden on Friday at Gardner Field, and the Sailors already had Demons coach Kurt Ohlen pleading with his team.

“Do what you did the other day,” Ohlen shouted at his squad, presumably referring to Golden’s 6-5 win Wednesday against Green Mountain.

But Steamboat presented a different animal, coming into the Friday night contest a perfect 7-0. The Demons, meanwhile, limped in at 2-5.

Instead of having a late-week letdown after a thrilling win against Thompson Valley on Monday, the Sailors made quick work of Golden, racing out to a 6-0 first-quarter lead, which swelled to 10-1 by halftime en route to a 16-4 win.

Steamboat now is 8-0.

Between the big wins and Steamboat’s few narrow margins of victory, first-year Sailors coach Jay Lattimore simply wants to keep his team’s egos on level ground just past the midway point of the season.

“Right now, we’re kind of just seeing good competition and not-good competition and trying to play the same game between both,” Lattimore said. “It’s kind of our challenge right now.”

The Demons did little to present a challenge Friday night. Senior Ben Wharton opened things up at the 10:02 mark with a goal, followed by goals from Jackson Perry, Mitch McCannon and Peter White to make it 4-0 early.

Willy Gunn continued his hot scoring season with a goal one minute into the second period. Wharton tacked on his third and fourth goals shortly thereafter, and Gunn blew things wide open at 10-0 with seven minutes to go before halftime.

Wharton and McCannon led the charge with four goals apiece for the Sailors. White pitched in three, Gunn scored a pair and Perry, Drew Williamson and Erik Sobeck each had a goal.

Gunn, Wharton and White each had three assists, as well.

Senior goalie Kaleb VanArsdale saw most of his minutes in the first half, snagging six saves in the contest. As a team, Steamboat dominated in the faceoff department, winning 18 of 24 against Golden.

“We are definitely coming along,” White said. “Our offense is looking great and our defense is looking great. Our goalies are getting a ton of work in, and we’ve definitely upped our faceoff game the last couple games.”

It’s a group, White said, that likes to have fun, evident from the whoops and hollers along the sideline after every big hit — such as a handful of monster checks by senior Trent Trask — or following every made goal or save.

“It’s an absolute blast,” White said. “We get really pumped. A couple kids call us the cockiest team in high school, but we kind of accept it. We really like it. We feed off each other.”

Lattimore is hoping to rein his team in, especially before it hosts Cheyenne Mountain on Saturday, one of the better teams remaining on the Sailors’ schedule before playoffs ramp up in May.

“I’m definitely trying to keep the guys in check,” Lattimore said. “They have to play the style of game they know for four quarters and not just a half, especially against a good team.”

Saturday's game starts at 11:30 a.m.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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