Sailors hockey holds off Dakota Ridge to advance in playoffs | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors hockey holds off Dakota Ridge to advance in playoffs

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Third-period goals by Curtis Maltby, Nate Kelley and David LaPointe helped lift the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team to a 4-2 win over Dakota Ridge Friday night at the NoCo Ice Center in Windsor.

"I think we got some lucky bounces, and we took advantage of them and it worked out for us," Sailors coach Ernie Thiel said. "It was a tight game all the way through. It could have swung either way at anytime. We were fortunately enough to capitalize on our opportunities, and it worked out.”

The victory means the Sailors will advance to the next round to face Chaparral for a chance to return to the Frozen Four for a second-straight year. The Sailors,now 14-5-1 for the season, will take the ice at 7:45 p.m. Saturday against Chaparral, who finished the season at 15-5-1.

The Wolverines toppled Fort Collins earlier Friday night, 4-2. The Sailors have faced the Wolverines twice this season winning 5-2 in the first meeting, and 5-3 in the second.

Steamboat got on the board early in the second period of Friday night's game after David Lapointe scored at 17:37 to give the Sailors a 1-0 lead. Luke Borgerding and Nate Kelley assisted the goal.

But Dakota Ridge's Trey Konsella scored at 19:48  to even things up at 1-1.

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The Sailors set the tone in the third  and then held on in a chaotic finish for the win.

Maltby (4:27) and Kelley (11:06) scored even-strength goals to make the score 3-1. 

Eickelman made things interesting with Dakota Ridge's second goal of the game at 18:24 to make the score 3-2 headed down the stretch.

But the Sailors held off a late Dakota Ridge rush, and LaPointe was able to add  a little cushion with an empty-net goal with time running out.

Dakota Ridge outshot the Sailors 38-27 in the game but struggled to beat Steamboat goalkeeper Peyton Tritz, who stopped 36 shots in the game, and held on for the win in the closing seconds.

"He stood on his head for us tonight," Thiel said. "There is no way we could have won this game without him. He was amazing."

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.