Steamboat hockey opens season with tournament Saturday
November 18, 2011
10:30 a.m. Steamboat vs. Cheyenne Mountain
11:40 a.m. Aspen vs. Cheyenne Mountain
12:40 p.m. Aspen vs. Palmer
4 p.m. Cheyenne Mountain vs. Palmer
5:10 p.m. Steamboat vs. Aspen
6:20 p.m. Steamboat vs. Palmer
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs High School hockey team looks to the third annual High School Scrimmage Festival on Saturday to finally see some other competition.
"When you only practice yourself, you get tired of it," Steamboat coach Jeff Ruff said. "When we're only playing ourselves, you don't like to hit because you're afraid of injury."
So instead of continuing with the doldrums of practicing against one another, Steamboat will see a trio of teams Saturday.
In addition to Steamboat, Cheyenne Mountain, Palmer and Aspen will compete Saturday.
Steamboat plays Cheyenne Mountain at 10:30 a.m., Aspen at 5:10 p.m. and Palmer at 6:20 p.m.
All games are at Howelsen Ice Arena.
"Since we're up here, we don't get invited to scrimmage teams on the Front Range that often," Ruff said. "With that, we're giving away an opportunity to play.
"This gives us a little bit of authentic competition. The young kids need that. We hate to have those first couple games of the season and not have that."
This year's scrimmage should mirror that. Steamboat returns several key components — like senior Lance Ostrom, who was tied for first in the Foothills Conference in goals last season — but largely has a young team looking to build on a second-round run in the playoffs last season.
This season, Steamboat will be working as many as six sophomores and a freshman into the lineup.
The team also will look to replace goaltender Erik Owen from a trio of net minders including Jessie Draper, Thomas Tarcha and Trent Trask.
"Especially the top teams in the league are juniors and seniors," Ruff said. "It's a different game. The scrimmages allow us to get some experience for those guys.
"It's a quality test under actual fire."
Games will feature two 25-minute halves, with the first half dedicate to special teams.
Entry to the event is free, and there will be concessions.
"It's a free opportunity to see some quality high school action," Ruff said.
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com