Ice Hockey: Monarch rallies to keep young Regis Jesuit team from spot in state title game

83

DENVER | The branch finally snapped on the young Regis Jesuit ice hockey team Friday night, just short of the top.

Coach Dan Woodley’s youth-dominated Raiders — playing in the state semifinals where few believed they’d end up at the beginning of the season — had a one-goal lead against Monarch at the Denver Coliseum, but surrendered a pair of power play goals in the final period in an agonizing 2-1 loss.

Walker Harris and Cameron Taggart tallied power play goals for the Coyotes — the second coming on a very rare 5-on-3 advantage in a tie game that drew Woodley’s ire — and goaltender Ian Oden turned away several last-gasp chances by Regis Jesuit to earn a spot opposite Ralston Valley in Saturday’s state championship game.

The Coyotes and Mustangs, who downed Cherry Creek 6-2 in the other semifinal, also met in last season’s title game.

Junior Connor Brennan gave Regis Jesuit (17-4-1) the lead with a power play goal in the second period and senior goaltender Sam Harden — who made 29 saves in the game — made it stand up until Walker tied the score early in the third period just eight seconds after Monarch went on a power play.

Just three minutes later, officials whistled Logan Baca for slashing and Brennan for roughing, giving the Coyotes a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes. They used 1:25 of it before Taggart corralled a rebound, patiently pulled back the puck and fired it high over Harden’s shoulder into the net to break the tie.

Regis Jesuit got a pair of power play chances in the closing minutes, but Oden made some key point blank stops.

With their high school season ended, the Raiders next head to Omaha, Neb., March 26-30 for the 2014 USA Hockey High School National Championship Tournament. Cherry Creek also qualified for the tournament.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel

MONARCH 2, REGIS JESUIT 1

Score by periods:

Monarch       0  0  2 — 2

Regis Jesuit  0  1  0 — 1

SCORING

Second period — Regis Jesuit: Connor Brennan (power play) (Carter Alcock, Logan Baca), 7:16

Third period — Monarch: Walker Harris (power play) (Kyle Dima), 6:54; Monarch: Cameron Taggart (power play) (Harris), 9:04

Goaltenders — Regis Jesuit: Sam Harden (31 shots against-29 saves); Monarch: Ian Oden (23 shots against-22 saves)