CENTENNIAL | There’s still a lot of season left, but the Regis Jesuit ice hockey team got a look at how good it can be Friday night.
The Raiders handled a physical challenge presented by Resurrection Christian, made the Cougars’ heads spin with puck movement and made coach Dan Woodley smile on the bench on several occasions in a Foothills Conference 7-1 victory at Family Sports Center complete with Teddy Bear Toss.
Senior Eamon Duffy scored the opening goal eight minutes into the game — which brought a shower of stuffed animals from fans onto the ice that will soon head to Children’s Hospital Colorado — and ignited an offensive onslaught that saw Regis Jesuit racked up 46 shots on goal and might have scored in double figures if not for the efforts of Resurrection Christian goalie Berg Lebahn.
“That was the best we’ve moved the puck in a long time, our systems worked beautifully and our players played the systems very well,” said Woodley, whose team moved to 3-0 and has outscored opponents 22-3 thus far.
“Without giving our guys a big head, I would say that’s close to our max game,” he added. “It was 7-1, but we left a lot on the table in terms of scoring and their goalie played well…This was a good game against a good team and we played as well as we have in awhile.”
Kyle Nelson scored two goals and Spencer Chuck, Sawyer Elliott, Jack Jordan and Carmine Lonardo also tallied for the Raiders, who got three assists from Andre Dugas and two apiece from Elliott, Jack Kilkenny, Kale Lone and Spencer Sannes. Senior goalie Sam Gartner made 11 saves in his first start of the season.
From the opening face off, the game had plenty of chippiness and the teams received a combined 52 minutes in penalties — 34 for Ressurrection Christian and 18 for Regis Jesuit — some of it stemming from a physical playoff meeting between the Cougars and Raiders last season.
Nelson followed Duffy’s opening goal with a blast that hit off Lebahn’s glove and found the corner of the net and Regis Jesuit finished the period up 2-0 with a 12-3 shot advantage. The Raiders would outshoot the Cougars by double figures in the next two periods.
Lonardo, Chuck, Elliott and Nelson (who tied Jordan for the team goal lead) scored in a dominating second period that put the game away.
Gartner couldn’t help but marvel at what his teammates did on the offensive end, especially in the second period.
“It was beautiful, a work of art,” he said. “Our puck movement has always been one of our strengths and this year it’s gotten even better. We’ll see where it takes us.”
The offensive explosion made it easy on Gartner in his first start of the season. He had to watch the Raiders’ two other talented goalies, Nicholas Hecht and Bret Jahde, start the first two games and was champing at the bit to get into the net.
Gartner made the most of his time between the pipes, as he stuffed Jacob Cooley on a breakaway in the opening period and made some other key saves.
Regis Jesuit limited a Resurrection Christian team that had scored four goals in each of its first two games to just Kolby Donovan’s nice score on a backdoor pass with the Cougars in a 5-on-3 situation. Resurrection Christian converted only one of its five power play chances.
“I feel like I should stop every single shot,” Gartner said. “I guess if I’m going to give one up, it might as well be on a 5-on-3.”
Jordan — who had been denied by Lebahn on quality chances all night — finally scored in a third period in which 12 minor penalties were called and the teams played less than four minutes of 5-on-5 hockey.
Regis Jesuit is back in action at 6:15 p.m. Saturday against Columbine at The Edge.
Woodley is pleased with the roll his team is on at the moment.
“We enjoy playing against good teams because you feel vindicated when you play well,” Woodley said. “It means something to win a game like that and it’s not just let’s show up and have a lack of intensity…a lot of our old players are in town and they are just really impressed with our team.
“The guys are trying to show off for them and show them they are carrying the torch forward.”
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
REGIS JESUIT 7, RESURRECTION CHRISTIAN 1
Score by periods:
Res. Christian 0 1 0 — 1
Regis Jesuit 2 4 1 — 7
First period: Regis Jesuit — Eamon Duffy (power play) (Jack Kilkenny, Michael Baer), 9:02; Regis Jesuit — Kyle Nelson (Spencer Sannes, Andre Dugas), 16:11
Second period: Regis Jesuit — Carmine Lonardo (Jack Kilkenny, Connor Kilkenny), 8:15; Regis Jesuit — Spencer Chuck (Sawyer Elliott, Kale Lone), 9:19; Resurrection Christian — Kolby Donovan (power play) (Hunter McFerran, Brendan Herrfeldt), 10:43; Regis Jesuit — Elliott (Jack Jordan, Lone), 18:36; Regis Jesuit — Nelson (Dugas, Sannes), 19:30
Third period: Regis Jesuit — Jordan (power play) (Dugas, Elliott), 15:06
Goaltenders — Resurrection Christian: Berg Lebahn (46 shots on goal-39 saves); Regis Jesuit: Sam Gartner (12 shots on goal-11 saves).