LOVELAND | Regis Jesuit was within one period of earning a chance to play for the Class 5A state ice hockey championship, only to see it slip away Tuesday night.
In a late night game played at the Budweiser Events Center, the second-seeded Raiders held a 2-1 lead over third-seeded and rival Valor Christian on goals by Dylan Thompson and Robbie Dembeck, but the Eagles got the equalizer in the final minutes of regulation to force overtime.
Evan Pahos scored an even-strength goal 50 seconds into the extra session to send Valor Christian to Thursday’s state championship game against No. 1 Fort Collins, a 3-2 victor in three overtimes over No. 4 Chaparral in the first semifinal.
Coach Dan Woodley’s Regis Jesuit team — which got assists from Blake Bridges and Brody Sannes on the goals by Thompson and Dembeck plus 32 saves from goaltender Gage Bussey — finished the season 12-2 overall.
The Raiders, who won the regular season meeting with Valor Christian 3-0, dropped a heartbreaking semifinal to the Eagles last season as well on a bad bounce off the end boards at Ball Arena (then Pepsi Center) that made it into the net.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
(3) VALOR CHRISTIAN 3, (2) REGIS JESUIT 2 (OT)
Score by periods:
Valor Christian 1 0 1 1 — 3
Regis Jesuit 1 1 0 0 — 2
First period: Valor Christian — Owen Walsh (Jack Majewski), 9:11; Regis Jesuit — Dylan Thompson (Brody Sannes), 14:33
Second period: Regis Jesuit — Robbie Dembeck (Blake Bridges) (power play), 6:08
Third period: Valor Christian — Walsh (Jake McCall, Blake Rollison), 11:54
Overtime: Valor Christian — Evan Pahos, 0:55
Valor Christian saves: Jace Ruth (25 shots on goal-23 saves). Regis Jesuit saves: Gage Bussey (35 shots on goal-32 saves)