No. 1 Ralston Valley hockey's winning streak now at 31

Ralston Valley Steamboat Springs hockey

Ralston Valley players celebrate a goal by Alex Meisner (11) in the first period Friday night against Steamboat Springs. Seven different Mustangs scored goals in the 7-0 win. (Dennis Pleuss)

ARVADA — It’s been awhile since Ralston Valley hockey has suffered a slipup on the ice.

The two-time defending state champions haven’t suffered a blemish since a 4-4 tie against Resurrection Christian back on Feb. 11, 2013. The Mustangs most recent loss is even further in a rearview mirror. Chatfield beat Ralston Valley 2-1 on Jan. 30, 2013.

“If no one would have told me I probably wouldn’t realize it,” Ralston Valley coach Matt Schoepflin said of the Mustangs’ winning streak after a 7-0 victory Friday night against Steamboat Springs. “It’s not something I think about or the guys (players) think about. It’s a new team every year. As of right now we are 2-0.”

Ralston Valley Steamboat Springs hockey

Steamboat Springs forward Scott Brown (11) attempt to knock down a puck behind the net as Ralston Valley defenseman Tucker Moros (17) and goalie Scott Albertoni hold their ground on the ice. Albertoni made 11 saves for the shutout in net. (Dennis Pleuss)

Ralston Valley, the two-time defending champion which is ranked No. 1 in the CHSAANow.com preseason hockey poll, improved its winning streak to 31 games and unbeaten streak to 35 games with the Foothills Conference win Friday night at the Apex Ice Center in Arvada.

“We can’t focus on last year’s team,” Ralston Valley forward Kyle Valdez said of the Mustangs’ undefeated 23-0 record to a second straight state championship last season. “We lost 17 seniors. It’s a completely different team. We just go out there and focus on getting the ‘W’.”

Valdez perhaps had the best looking goal on the night. His shot at the 9:01 mark in the first period zipped just under the crossbar to give Ralston Valley a 2-0 lead. Forward Alex Meisner opened the scoring at the 7:45 mark with a hardworking goal down low.

Ralston Valley took a 2-0 lead after the first period outshooting Steamboat Springs 18 to 4. Steamboat Springs junior goalie Jackson Draper was busy all game in making 40 saves.

“We want to outshoot every team we play,” Schoepflin of his squad, which finished with a 47-11 edge in shots. “We kind of preach that there is no such thing as a bad shot.”

The Mustangs had remarkable scoring balance with seven different players scoring the seven goals. A total of 13 players found their way on the score sheet for Ralston Valley.

“Coach Schoepflin looks for all lines to produce,” said Valdez, who had a two goals and an assist in the Mustangs’ 6-1 victory over Lewis-Palmer in their opener Tuesday.

Forward Jeff Moffat and defenseman Colton Hellman led Ralston Valley with multi-point nights. Moffat picked up a second-period goal and assist. Hellman contributed three assists.

Ralston Valley Steamboat Springs hockey

Ralston Valley forward Tony Salazar (18) takes a spill on the ice as Steamboat Springs junior Kearn Gerber (3) skates by during the third period Friday night at the Apex Ice Center in Arvada. (Dennis Pleuss)

“People like playing for Ralston Valley,” Moffat said. “It’s a great team, great coaches. It’s a lot of fun.”

Ralston Valley dominated puck possession against the Sailors, allowing just the 11 shots on goal while killing off three 2-minute minor penalties. Steamboat Springs had its best scoring opportunity with a 2-man advantage for more than a minute in the second period, but Ralston Valley goalie Scott Albertoni was solid in net in recording the shutout.

“We really stress defense first,” Schoepflin said. “When it comes to playoff time and big games you need strong defensemen. You need to be strong in your defensive end and have good goaltending.”

Ralston Valley is back on the ice for its first road game of the season on Saturday. The Mustangs face Mullen at The Edge in Littleton with an 8:30 p.m. puck drop.

Steamboat Springs (0-2) stays in the metro area to face Denver East at 4 p.m. Saturday at Big Bear Ice Arena in Denver.

Ralston Valley Steamboat Springs hockey

Ralston Valley forward Alex Meisner (11) slips the puck past Steamboat Springs goalie Jackson Draper for the first goal of the night Friday at Apex Ice Center. Ralston Valley took a 7-0 victory in its lead opener. (Dennis Pleuss)