Ice Hockey: Cherry Creek co-op team faces Battle Mountain second round of state playoffs

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Senior Joe Whitmore (Smoky Hill) and the Cherry Creek co-op ice hockey team had a first round bye in the 2017 state ice hockey playoffs and begin them with a 5:40 p.m. second round contest on Feb. 24 against Battle Mountain at Family Sports Center. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | Looking to sustain the momentum it picked up in the final week of the regular season, the Cherry Creek co-op ice hockey team heads into the second round of the 2017 state playoffs Friday evening against Battle Mountain.

The Bruins suffered their worst loss of the year on Feb. 11, a 8-4 defeat against Dakota Ridge, but responded with wins of three straight playoff teams — Pueblo County, Mountain Vista and Lewis-Palmer — to close out a 12-6-1 regular season.

Coach Jeff Mielnicki’s Cherry Creek co-op team — which features a mix of players from five different schools, including Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview and Smoky Hill — drops the puck with 14th-seeded Battle Mountain at 5:40 p.m. at the Family Sports Center.

The Huskies opened the postseason Feb. 21 with a 2-1 victory over 19th-seeded Aspen in a game that took three periods and two overtimes to decide. Keaton Fedrizzi’s even strength goal in the second time propelled Battle Mountain (12-3-3) into the second round.

The Bruins and Huskies meet for the first time since Jan. 8, 2016, when Cherry Creek posted a 7-1 victory in a non-league contest. The winner advances to the quarterfinals, where it will face the victor of the 7:50 p.m. first round matchup between No. 11 Steamboat Springs (14-4-2) and No. 6 Fort Collins (17-1-1) at Family Sports Center.

The quarterfinal contest is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. at Family Sports Center, with the winner advancing to the Frozen Four at the University of Denver.

Senior forward Sam Harris led Cherry Creek in goal scoring during the regular season with 12, while senior forward Diego Lovato (Grandview) joined him in double figures with 10 goals and four other players registered five goals or more.

Versatile senior forward/defenseman Danny Taggart (Grandview) racked up 18 assists to pace the Bruins, while senior forward Joe Whitmore (Smoky Hill) added nine and senior defenseman Garret Glaspy eight.

Junior Ryan Bevan (Grandview) and freshman Dylan Romanow (Cherokee Trail) have each picked up four wins in the nets for Cherry Creek, with Bevan leading the pair with a 2.53 goals against average and .890 save percentage.

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

2017 STATE ICE HOCKEY PLAYOFFS

Second round (Feb. 24)

Upper bracket

No. 17 Lewis-Palmer (8-12) vs. NO. 1 REGIS JESUIT (17-1), 5:10 p.m. at The Ice Ranch

No. 9 Ralston Valley (12-7-1) vs. No. 8 Dakota Ridge (11-6-2), 3 p.m. at The Ice Ranch

No. 12 Crested Butte (12-5) vs. No. 5 Valor Christian (15-3-1), 11 a.m. at NoCo Ice Arena

No. 13 Heritage (13-7) vs. No. 4 Resurrection Christian (16-3), 1:30 p.m. at NoCo Ice Arena

Lower bracket

No. 14 Battle Mountain (12-3-3) vs. NO. 3 CHERRY CREEK (12-6-1), 5:40 p.m. at Family Sports Center

No. 11 Steamboat Springs (14-4-2) vs. No. 6 Fort Collins (17-1-1), 7:50 p.m. at Family Sports Center

No. 10 Castle View (16-3-1) vs. No. 7 Mountain Vista (10-8-1), 5:20 p.m. at The Sports Stable

No. 15 Pueblo County (12-7-1) vs. No. 2 Monarch (12-4-3), 7:30 p.m. at The Sports Stable

First round (Feb. 21)

No. 17 Lewis-Palmer 3, No. 16 Kent Denver 2

No. 9 Ralston Valley 10, No. 24 Coronado 1

No. 12 Crested Butte 8, No. 21 Liberty 2

No. 13 Heritage 2, No. 20 Denver East 1

No. 14 Battle Mountain 2, No. 19 Aspen 1 (2OT)

No. 11 Steamboat Springs 6, No. 22 Rampart 3

No. 9 Castle View 9, No. 23 Summit 2

No. 15 Pueblo County 6, No. 18 Cheyenne Mountain 4