#15 Peter Wharton scores an unassisted goal to give his Steamboat Sailors a 2-0 lead in the first period in their second round matchup with Fort Collins.
#15 Peter Wharton with the celly after putting Steamboat up 2-0.
The Fort Collins Lambkins (17-1-1) were in uncharted waters in their first season of CHSAA high school hockey, as their wildly successful inaugural season resulted in a 17 win season, a Pinnacle Conference Championship, and a #6 seed in their initial opportunity to play in the Colorado state hockey championships. Pretty darn good for your first year.
The Steamboat Springs Sailors (14-4-2) are plenty familiar with the Lambkins, after dropping both regular season matchups and finishing second to them in Pinnacle Conference play. The Sailors were hoping to redeem themselves by riding the wave of momentum they gathered from their 6-3 first round victory over Rampart. A win could send Steamboat to the final eight for the first time in school history, but in order to do so they would have to accomplish another first. Beat Fort Collins.
The Sailors' voyage got underway according to plan, as David LaPointe provided some wind in their sails with a top shelf score just 1:16 into the game to give Steamboat a 1-0 lead early. Teammate Peter Wharton would add to their fast start with an unassisted score toward the end of the first period to extend their lead to 2-0 after one.
#14 Jared McFerran gets Fort Collins on the board with a shorthanded goal early in the second period.
The Lambkins were fighting an uphill battle before the game even started, as they were missing some key players including leading point scorer Greg Bilek (16G, 18A). That did not deter them from battling back to keep this one interesting. Jared McFerran scored a short handed goal just 1:28 into the second for the only goal of the period to bring Fort Collins within one, at 2-1 going into the third.
#10 Jack Bender puts the finishing touches on Steamboats' 3-2 victory over Fort Collins with this goal to make it 3-1.
Steamboat would get what proved to be the game winning goal from Jack Bender in the early portion of the third period to stretch their lead out to 3-1. Fort Collins would not give up as Head Coach Rhett Gordon rolled the dice and pulled the goalie with two minutes left and the face off in the Steamboat zone, resulting in a late goal by Colton Zadkovic for the Lambkins. Unfortunately for Fort Collins, time would run out on their comeback effort, ending a fantastic first season for the Lambkins and sending the Steamboat Sailors to the final eight for the first time in school history with a 3-2 win.
The Steamboat Springs Sailors advance to the final eight for the first time in school history.