DENVER | For the first time in 15 years, the final four teams remaining in the state ice hockey playoffs don’t include Regis Jesuit.
Longtime coach Dan Woodley’s Raiders had been a staple in the Frozen Four for 14 seasons, but fell a win short of it this season after a 4-1 loss to Fort Collins in a Class 5A quarterfinal contest March 1 at Magness Arena on the University of Denver Campus.
Regis Jesuit tied with the Lambkins — who need one more win to make the state championship game for a third straight season — 4-4 during the regular season and Fort Collins was able to match that output, but the Raiders were not.
Thanks to a first-round bye as the No. 2 overall seed, Regis Jesuit played for the first time in 17 days after wrapping up a 15-1-1 regular season on Feb. 12.
The Raiders’ lone goal (despite 36 shots on goal) came from Sean Holloway on assists from Ben Romero and Andrew Gleason in the second period. It pulled Regis Jesuit within 2-1, but Fort Collins scored again just nine seconds later to restore the two-goal advantage and put a stop to the Raiders’ momentum.
An empty net goal in the third period sealed the result for the Lambkins, who advanced to the March 3 semifinals at DU against No. 3 Valor Christian.
The state championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m. March 8 at Ball Arena.
Regis Jesuit had been looking at a run towards a seventh state championship, but remains at six, which is the second-most in Colorado history behind the 14 won by Cheyenne Mountain.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports