The state ice hockey championship trophy skated away in the hands of someone other than Regis Jesuit or Cherry Creek — which had combined for four of the five state titles since 2015 — but it was still an outstanding season on ice for the two teams with Aurora players.
Sentinel Colorado’s 2019-20 All-Aurora Ice Hockey Team — selected by the Sentinel from the balloting of Regis Jesuit coach Dan Woodley and Jeff Mielnicki of the Cherry Creek co-op team — has plenty of talent from two teams that finished in the final eight.
Regis Jesuit advanced to the Frozen Four for a 13th consecutive season, where it fell to rival and eventual state champion Valor Christian in a semifinal at the Pepsi Center — and did so with an atypically small amount of senior experience. The few seniors who played were mighty, however, led by defenseman Nolan Sargent and forward Leighton Walsh.
In a season in which offense was tougher to come by for Regis Jesuit with the firepower that graduated — the Raiders finished with 38 fewer goals in one less game — Walsh was the team’s prime producer.
Between regular season and playoffs, Walsh finished as the team’s leader in goals scored with 13 — three game-winners — and points with 28, while he tied for the team lead in assists with 15.
Sargent (who was voted onto CHSAANow.com’s All-State first team) also dished out 15 assists and added seven goals to finish second on the team with 22 points, which was a slight downturn from last season’s offensive production.
That came as a result of the thinning experience on the backline, which required Sargent to concentrate more on what happened inside his own blue line.
The Cherry Creek co-op team — an assembly of players from across the entire Cherry Creek Schools district — came up a win short of a return to the Frozen Four, as the 11th-seeded Bruins battled eventual runner-up Fort Collins into double overtime before a 2-1 loss in the quarterfinals.
Mielnicki’s team was more productive offensively this season and a lot had to do with the uptick of offense from Hunter Fieweger, a senior from Cherokee Trail.
Fieweger was a double-digit goal scorer a year ago, but nearly hit 20 this season with 17 goals in the regular season and two in the playoffs. He had a team-high 31 points for the season.
Linemate Riley Hunt-Bahn scored three goals in the postseason to get to 12 on the season and tallied 24 points for year.
Senior Luke Flay (Cherokee Trail) bolstered Cherry Creek’s backline and registered double-digit assists with 10 to go with six goals. He contributed two points in the postseason and 16 points total for the season.
The Bruins rotated several goalies in the nets during the season, but the majority of the time in the nets went to senior Lucas Banks, who was especially outstanding in the postseason with a 2-1 record, 1.35 Goals Against Average and made 86 saves on 90 shots.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2019-20 SENTINEL COLORADO ALL-AURORA ICE HOCKEY TEAM
Forward: Hunter Fieweger, sr. (Cherokee Trail), Cherry Creek; Riley Hunt Bahn, jr., Cherry Creek; Leighton Walsh, sr., Regis Jesuit
Defense: Luke Flay, sr. (Cherokee Trail), Cherry Creek; Nolan Sargent, sr., Regis Jesuit
Goaltender: Lucas Banks, sr., Cherry Creek
Forward: Gavin Berkey, sr., Cherry Creek; Robbie Dembeck, Regis Jesuit; Brody Sannes, Regis Jesuit
Defense: Sergio Padilla, jr., Regis Jesuit; Eugene Riewe, jr., Cherry Creek
Goaltender: Gage Bussey, soph., Regis Jesuit
Forward: Caleb Balatbat, Regis Jesuit; Nicholas Hoppe, sr. (Grandview), Cherry Creek; William Laws, Regis Jesuit; Jordan Nelson, sr., Cherry Creek Aidan Tucker, jr. (Cherokee Trail), Cherry Creek
Defense: Charlie Krause, sr. (Grandview), Cherry Creek; Tommy Miner, sr., Regis Jesuit; Benjamin Powell, soph. (Grandview), Cherry Creek