ENGLEWOOD | While Regis Jesuit hockey coach Dan Woodley wasn’t entirely pleased with his team’s performance in Saturday’s victory over Cherry Creek, he marveled at one of its biggest plays.
Just 17 seconds after the Raiders took an early lead over the Bruins at Family Sports Center, they doubled it with a perfectly executed breakaway goal by junior forward Nicholas Schultz that put them the driver’s seat on their way to a 3-0 victory.
Regis Jesuit survived a second period where it was almost exclusively on the penalty kill and Schultz added an insurance goal on a deflection in the third period as Woodley’s team won its third game in as many days.
“We executed an absolutely perfect breakout on that play, it’s one where you sitting on the bench saying ‘Wow, well done,'” Woodley said of Schultz’s goal. “We were pleased with that play and would like to see something like that more often.
“We did some great things; our penalty kill was good and there were some things to to build on.”
Senior Paxton Erickson scored the first goal for the Raiders, who improved to 9-0 overall after wins over Denver East (8-1) and Mullen (9-0) in the previous two days.
Will Desmond picked up two assists and Shane Ott, Rowan Barnes and Nolan Sargent also had helpers and goaltender Max Harlan turned aside all 21 shots he faced for Regis Jesuit, which will face Cherry Creek on the same ice Jan. 26.
Coach Jeff Mielnicki’s Bruins — which feature a mix of players from Cherry Creek and Aurora schools across the district — had their four-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 5-2. Cherry Creek was shut out for the first time since a 6-0 loss to Monarch in the second game of the season.
Just a few minutes into the contest, Erickson netted the first goal of the game when he got off a shot on a pass from Ott that deflected on some Bruins in front of the goal and found its way under the pads of goaltender Lucas Banks.
“I remember the shot got tipped by the defenseman and then went off the goalie’s back and went in,” Erickson said. “I didn’t see it was in the net because the defenseman was in my line of sight, but then I heard the cheers and I was like ‘yes.’
“Then we scored another goal in the next shift or two, so we got off to a super strong start.”
Seconds later, the Raiders executed their perfect play as Desmond and Barnes got the puck to a wide open Schultz, who streaked in and scored for a 2-0 lead.
In a game in which the teams were whistled for a combined 18 penalties that covered 45 minutes, neither team was able to score on the power play. Cherry Creek finished 0-for-7 with the man advantage, much of which came in the second period when the Bruins had two 5-on-3 bursts that they were unable to convert.
Regis Jesuit’s penalty kill emerged unscathed and the Raiders were the beneficiaries of multiple power play chances in the closing period. The Raiders failed to scored on their own 5-on-3 opportunity, but Schultz tallied even strength on a deflection for the final score.
“We were on the penalty kill the whole second period, but then in the third we got to show them what we are about,” Schultz said. “We moved the puck past and showed our speed and they really didn’t have a chance to come back.”
Woodley was pleased with how is team played during a holiday trip to Washington, D.C., prior to resuming the season after winter break, but found a lot of holes in the Raiders’ play in the three-game stretch.
“Overall, I’m disappointed in our three games,” he said. “We did not have the discipline that we normally do and we didn’t have the attention to detail that we pride ourselves on.
“We got three wins and we’re pleased and proud of that, but looking to the future and what it is going to take to win a title, those three performances are not going to be enough. That being said, I’m pleased with where we are and now we can go work on it in practice and get where we need to be.”
Cherry Creek pays a 9 p.m. visit to Sertich Arena on Jan. 8, while Regis Jesuit plays host to Mountain Vista at 5:40 p.m. Jan. 12 at Family Sports Center.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
REGIS JESUIT 3, CHERRY CREEK 0
Score by periods:
Regis Jesuit 2 0 1 — 3
Cherry Creek 0 0 0 — 0
First period: Regis Jesuit — Paxton Erickson (Shane Ott), 5:20; Regis Jesuit — Nicholas Schultz (Will Desmond, Rowan Barnes), 5:37
Third period: Regis Jesuit — Schultz (Desmond, Nolan Sargent), 10:36
Goaltenders: Regis Jesuit — Max Harlan (21 shots on goal-21 saves). Cherry Creek — Lucas Banks (34 shots on goal-31 saves)