Sailors hockey falls to state-favorite Ralston Valley

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— In Steamboat Springs High School hockey’s regular-season finale, its opponent, Ralston Valley, proved exactly why it is on the shortlist of favorites to win the state championship.

The Mustangs methodically wore out Steamboat, scoring three goals in the second period and closing things out with a pair of goals in the final period to down Steamboat, 5-1, on Friday night.

The Sailors managed to escape the opening period against the now 19-0 Mustangs but found themselves in a 3-0 hole not long into the second period. Ralston Valley netted the opening three goals within 5 1/2 minutes of one another.

Steamboat captain Ben Wharton scored the Sailors’ lone goal in the second period.

Those looking for answers to the Sailors’ worst loss since a six-goal defeat against Monarch on Jan. 6 don’t need to look much further than Friday night’s shot chart.

Steamboat managed just five shots on Ralston Valley goalie Zack Larocque, who has allowed just 13 goals against him all season. The Mustangs, on the other hand, threw 35 shots at Steamboat goalie Jackson Draper, playing his first full game in front of the net all season for the Sailors.

Seeding for the state playoffs will be announced Sunday. Steamboat currently sits in seventh in the Foothills Conference, and the top eight finishers move on to the playoffs.

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

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