Sailors sink Aspen in final |

Sailors sink Aspen in final

Nate Peterson

Apparently Steamboat Springs paid no attention to the Rocky Mountain News preseason hockey rankings before this weekends King of the Mountain Tournament in Vail. The Sailors were the only team that arrived at Dobson Arena unranked. They left with the championship trophy for the second straight year after holding off third-ranked Aspen, 2-1, in Saturdays final.The Skiers (2-1) outshot the Sailors 16-3 in the third period and had four one-on-one scoring chances on goalie Jeff Dawes, but were unable to net the equalizer. First-year head coach Al Butler said the loss might have some silver lining: I know the kids feel as though they could have won the game easily. We had about only an hour and a half between games, but that didnt really matter. The kids executed well. When you have three or four point-blank shots, you have a good chance of scoring on at least one or two. Their goalie definitely made some great saves, but we feel like we can beat them.Aspen was riding high after it dumped second-ranked Battle Mountain, 3-1, Friday night, then downed fifth-ranked Summit, 4-2, Saturday morning. But, for the second straight year, Aspen was upset in the final. Senior Matt Butler was the only Skier to slip a puck past Dawes. Matt Cooper assisted on the goal, which came in the second period with Steamboat Springs leading 2-0.Cooper also had an assist in Friday nights win over the Huskies a matchup that looked good on paper but fizzled on the ice. Aspen dominated offensively and nearly had a shutout but for a late goal from the Huskies.After a scoreless first period, junior defenseman Simon Dolginow put the Skiers on the scoreboard off an assist from junior Ricky Frias. Dolginow and Cooper then assisted on a Ryder Fyrwald goal early in the third period, and sophomore Tommy Mines punched in an unassisted goal after that.Against Summit, the Skiers scored two early goals in the first, then got a third in the second period from junior Willy Klein before the Tigers scored two goals to pull within one.Butler had Aspens fourth goal in the third, off an assist from senior Andy Conarroe.Junior Taylor Feldman had Aspens first goal off assists from Klein and Frias; Dolginow scored next off a Fyrwald assist. Passes from Feldman and Galen Means set up Kleins goal.Next up for the Skiers is a showdown Friday night against defending state champion Peak to Peak in Superior, followed by a game Saturday with Rampart. Aspen then faces Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs again before taking two weeks off for Christmas break.The early slate of games should sort out which teams deserve to remain in the Rocky Mountain News top five.Im not sure how strong [Peak to Peak] is going to be, Butler said. I dont know how many seniors they lost. I know their goalie returned, and he is pretty strong. Were going to have to execute like we did this past weekend.I think were going to have really good team. Weve got strong senior leadership.Nate Petersons e-mail address is Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.

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