Ice Hockey: Familiar foe awaits Regis Jesuit in second round of state playoffs in Lewis-Palmer

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Juniors Shane Ott, left, and Wyatt Verity led the Regis Jesuit ice hockey team in goal scoring during the regular season and will try to help the Raiders push past Lewis-Palmer in second round state ice hockey playoff game on Feb. 24, 2017, at Family Sports Center. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | It’s been a few months, but the Regis Jesuit ice hockey team knows what it is up against Friday evening in the second round of the 2017 state playoffs.

Coach Dan Woodley’s Raiders, the top seed in the expanded 24-team playoffs, meets up with a Lewis-Palmer team they swept to open the season at 5:10 p.m. at The Ice Ranch, as both teams seek to move into Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Regis Jesuit — the defending state champion — needs two wins to advance to the state’s Frozen Four for the 10th consecutive season. The Raiders showed that type of form in the regular season by going 17-1, with the only loss coming to a Monarch team they beat in last season’s state final.

Working towards a title defense begins with a win over 17th-seeded Lewis-Palmer (8-12), which pulled off a mild upset in terms of seeding with a thrilling 3-2 victory over No. 16 Kent Denver in the first round Feb. 21. The Rangers’ Christian Perry scored with just over a minute left in regulation to break a deadlock and send them on to the second round.

Regis Jesuit swept a home-and-home series with Lewis-Palmer to open the season, coming away with a 3-1 victory on Dec. 2, 2016, followed by a 7-1 win on Dec. 3. Senior forward Kyle Nelson was particularly effective for the Raiders in those two games with three goals and an assist.

The Regis Jesuit-Lewis-Palmer winner moves into the quarterfinals and a 5:30 p.m. contest Saturday at Family Sports Center against another Foothills Conference team, either No. 9 Ralston Valley (12-7-1) or No. 8 Dakota Ridge (11-6-2), which play prior to the Raiders and Rangers at 3 p.m. at The Ice Ranch.

Regis Jesuit had four double-digit goal scorers during the regular season in junior linemates Shane Ott (16) and Wyatt Verity (13), while seniors Nelson (11) and Michael Baer (10) also provided significant firepower.

Six Raiders racked up 10 or more assists, led by 16 for Dylan Kelly, 15 for Nelson and 14 apiece for Cade Alcock and Connor Kilkenny.

Three netminders have picked up at least two wins apiece for Regis Jesuit, but junior Dillon Whalen has seen the majority of the work in the net and is 10-1 with a 1.72 goals against average and .925 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