Sailors back on the ice Friday to start long homestand | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors back on the ice Friday to start long homestand

Steamboat senior Luke Borgerding, No. 7, celebrates a goal with his teammates last month as the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team opened its season in Steamboat at Howelsen Ice Arena against Chaparral.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The key, Steamboat Springs High School hockey coach Ernie Thiel said, is focus.

That's what he saw when his team won some tough games before the holiday break, and what was lacking when it dropped one ugly one. And it's definitely what the squad will need as it heads into a pair of home games this weekend.

The Sailors play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against Summit, then again at 3 p.m. Saturday at home against Chatfield.

"The hardest thing is to keep the kids in check," Thiel said.

The team's off to a hot start, going 5-1 before the break.

They opened the season with a 5-2 win against Chaparral, then blasted Battle Mountain, 7-4. They beat Kent Denver 5-0, Air Academy 9-2 and Chaparral again, 5-3.

Recommended Stories For You

That's all enough to put Steamboat atop the league standings but mixed in there was a 3-1 loss to Liberty, the team currently on the bottom of the league standings.

"The hardest part of our season is yet to come," he said. "We're trying to keep the kids focused."

Friday's game is the start of a big stretch of home games for the team. They'll play four in a row at home. They then take a quick trip to Aspen and return and play four of their next five at home, as well.

One boost for the team could come in the form of senior Grant McNamara, returning to the ice after missing the first few weeks of the season.

"He's such a positive kid and really is an unbelievable morale booster," Thiel said.

Summit comes to Steamboat with an unassuming 2-2 record, but that's exactly the kind of team that can catch a squad off guard.

"We're not taking them for granted under any circumstance," Thiel said. "They've got two or three kids who play for their junior team, as well as the high school, and when you get kids playing at that level, they can dominate the game. I don't take anything for granted and neither should the kids."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.