Steamboat Springs opens playoffs with impressive win over Rampart | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs opens playoffs with impressive win over Rampart

Andrew Mitchell makes a move while attempting to get past a Rampart defender in the second period of Wednesday’s Colorado State High School playoff game.





Andrew Mitchell makes a move while attempting to get past a Rampart defender in the second period of Wednesday's Colorado State High School playoff game.
John F. Russell

Andrew Mitchell led the charge Wednesday at the Howelsen Hill Ice Area as the Sailors cruised to a 6-3 win against Rampart in the first round of the state high school hockey playoffs.

"We spent the past week preparing for this game, and we came out on fire," Mitchell said. "My line mates and I were just working really hard. That's how I ended up with the hat trick. It could have been any one of us three, but it ended up being me, and it was a great game."

Mitchell's first goal came 10 minutes into the game with both teams at even strength. His teammate, Luke Borgerding, extended the Sailors’ lead to 2-0 on a 5-on-3 power play 14 minutes into the opening period. Mitchell rounded out the scoring with his second goal of the period at 16 minutes; again, the score came on a 5-on-3 opportunity,

It didn't take long in the second period for Steamboat's David LaPoint to extend the lead to 4-0, but just when it seemed the Sailors would cruise to a win, Rampart battled back into the game. The Rams’ James Adams scored on a power play 2 minutes, 15 seconds into the period to make the score 4-1.

Mitchell gave the Sailors a bit more breathing room with his third goal of the night a little more than three minutes into the second period. Rampart's Patrick McCann struck back eight minutes into the period, making the score 5-2.

Recommended Stories For You

Things got interesting in the final period, as McCann chalked up his second goal of the night, giving the Rams hope at 5-3, but that's as close as the game ever got.

Steamboat's Matthew Kempers scored an empty netter with a little more than a minute to play, ending any chance Rampart might have had to make a last-minute comeback.

The victory means Steamboat has earned the right to face Fort Collins, the No. 6 team in the state, for the third time this season. In December, Steamboat lost to the Lambkins 2-1 in overtime, and the Sailors also fell to Fort Collins 4-2 during a road trip a few weeks ago.

The second-round contest between Steamboat and Fort Collins is scheduled for 7:50 p.m. Friday at Family Sports, in the Cherry Creek area.

It's a game head coach Ernie Thiel thinks the Sailors can win.

"I couldn't ask for a better draw for the second playoff game," Thiel said. "We played a super strong game against them in the first game, and in the second game, we came out super flat after a very physical game with Dakota Ridge the night before. I really think we can beat Fort Collins, and there is nothing in my mind telling me that we can't."

Mitchell said this is a playoff game the team is looking forward to.

"I think the whole team is pretty amped about playing Fort Collins again. We lost to them twice, once in overtime, and we wanted to play for a win here, because we knew we would get another shot at them," he said.

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