Steamboat hockey drops opener | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat hockey drops opener

— There's plenty to work on, and Steamboat Springs High School hockey coach Chris Campanelli said when his team hits the ice for practice Wednesday, they'll try to tighten things up.

Still, despite coming off a 4-1 season opening loss to Aspen on Tuesday night, the Sailors saw plenty they liked and they hope to build on that as they head into a daunting weekend.

Steamboat was tied, 1-1, in the first period but couldn't keep up with the Skiers, who scored the final three goals of the night.

"We saw a lot that we liked, a lot of positive that came out of that game," Campanelli said. "It's never fun to lose, but we can build on the positives and we'll bring the wrench to the machine today and tighten some things up."

Steamboat was outshot, 19-1, in that first period and ended it down just 2-1. For that, Campanelli credited goalie Jackson Draper and a physical approach from the Sailors.

The shot differential was more even for the rest of the game, Steamboat actually eking out an advantage in the first two periods.

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Aspen kept getting the goals, however.

"Our game plan was to execute a lot of physical play, which we did," Campanelli said. "We probably out hit Aspen three to one in the first period. We were physical, separating the man from the puck, and we did really well in the corners. We didn't pick up very many penalties, so they were good, clean hits."

Steamboat faces a tough task this weekend on a Denver road swing, starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday when it plays at Ralston Valley. That squad is the defending state champ and hasn't lost a game in 33 trips to the ice. It romped through the playoffs lost season with a 24-3 goal advantage.

Steamboat then plays Denver East, 1-0, on Saturday.

"We will have an uphill battle," Campanelli said. "We had an uphill battle last night, too, and except for the first period, we really played with them. They caught some lucky bounces and were able to capitalize. We'll go back to the drawing board tonight, fix some things and build on the positives."

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