DENVER | The 2017 state ice hockey semifinals at a glance, featuring games between Resurrection Christian and Regis Jesuit followed by Cherry Creek against Monarch on March 3, 2017, at Magness Arena at the University of Denver:
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 STATE FROZEN FOUR AT A GLANCE
BREAKDOWN: The state Frozen Four returns to the ice at the Magness Arena on the University of Denver campus for the first time since 2013, as it has spent the past three seasons at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. That three-year span saw three different state champions in Ralston Valley (2014), Cherry Creek (2015) and Regis Jesuit (2016). The Bruins and Raiders are back in the semifinals for another try at a state championship along with Monarch, which has appeared in and lost the last four state finals. Cherry Creek and Regis Jesuit have four state championships all-time — tied for second behind Cheyenne Mountain, which has 14 — while Monarch and Resurrection Christian seek their first state titles.
RESURRECTION CHRISTIAN VS. REGIS JESUIT (5 P.M.) — RESURRECTION CHRISTIAN (18-3): The co-op team from up north is in the Frozen Four for the first time since 2013, when it lost to Ralston Valley for the second season in a row in the semifinals. Coach Jack Pence’s Cougars made it into the Frozen Four with a 6-2 second round victory over No. 13 Heritage followed by a 3-1 win over No. 5 Valor Christian in the quarterfinals, which pushed their winning streak to 16 games dating back to a 4-2 loss to Monarch on Jan. 6…Blake Baer, AJ Buckner and Kolby Donovan have scored two goals apiece in the postseason for Resurrection Christian, while Buckner leads the way with four assists, followed by Baer and Brennan McFarland with two apiece. Berg Lebahn has played all 102 playoff minutes in the net for the Cougars and has yielded just three goals on 33 shots…REGIS JESUIT (19-1): The Raiders appear in the Frozen Four for the 10th consecutive season and have made it into the championship game five times in the previous nine trips, winning four of them. Coach Dan Woodley’s team has won three straight since its only loss of the season — a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Monarch on Feb. 17 — and moved into the semifinals with a 7-1 second round victory over No. 17 Lewis-Palmer and a 3-2 quarterfinal win over No. 8 Dakota Ridge…Seven players have tallied at least one postseason goal for Regis Jesuit, with Connor Kilkenny and Shane Ott both with two apiece. Nine players have at least one assist, headed by four from Justin Lico, three from Rowan Barnes and Ott and two from Cade Alcock. In 102 playoff minutes in the net, goaltender Dillon Whalen has made 35 saves on 38 shots against.
CHERRY CREEK VS. MONARCH (7:30 P.M.) — CHERRY CREEK (14-6-1): The co-op team featuring players from all across the Cherry Creek School District — including Aurora’s Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview and Smoky Hill — returns to the Frozen Four after missing out last season following a state championship run in 2015. Coach Jeff Mielnicki’s team has won five straight games since an 8-4 loss to Dakota Ridge on Feb. 11, including a 4-0 second round shutout of No. 14 Battle Mountain and a 3-1 quarterfinal victory over No. 11 Steamboat Springs…Garret Glaspy and Danny Taggart (Grandview) have scored two goals apiece in the postseason, while Joe Caputo, Brandon Cyrus (Grandview) and Diego Lovato (Grandview) also have found the back of the net. Henry Raabe has accounted for four of the Bruins’ seven assists, while Sam Harris also has a pair. Ryan Bevan (Grandview) has been nearly perfect in the goal for Cherry Creek with 27 saves on 28 shots against in 102 playoff minutes…MONARCH (16-4-3): The Coyotes have been to the state championship game in four straight seasons and lost twice to Ralston Valley, once to Cherry Creek and once to Regis Jesuit. Coach Jimmy Dexter’s team is 5-0-2 in its last season games since a 2-0 loss to Mountain Vista on Feb. 4 and defeated No. 15 Pueblo County (8-0) and No. 7 Mountain Vista (4-2) to reach the semifinals…Four Monarch players have scored two or more goals in the postseason, topped by Conner Akerson with four, while Franny Churches, Palmer McQuade and Sal Pisciola have two apiece. Pisciola and Brendan Van Haute have racked up five assists apiece, while Akerson has three. Reese Kelly and Logan Gorbitz have each played a game in the goal in the postseason, with Kelly recording a 10-save shutout in the second round and Gorbitz making 26 saves on 28 shots against in the quarterfinals.
WINNER GETS: The Regis Jesuit/Resurrection Christian winner and Cherry Creek/Monarch winner advance to the state championship game, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 6 at Magness Arena.