Valor Christian ended up as the Class 5A state ice hockey champion this season, but the margin between the classification’s elite teams wasn’t that wide.
Both teams that included Aurora players — Regis Jesuit and the Cherry Creek co-op — had the talent that put them right in the mix to compete with anybody they stepped on the ice with this season.
The 2022-23 Sentinel Colorado All-Aurora Ice Hockey Team — which is picked by the Sentinel in conjunction with balloting of city coaches — includes a mix of players from the semifinalist Raiders and quarterfinalist Bruins.
Regis Jesuit missed out on the Frozen Four for the first time in program history last season and underwent a coaching change between campaigns as original coach Dan Woodley (who got win No. 300 last season) retired and his longtime assistant, Terry Ott, ascended to the head coaching spot.
Ott helped the Raiders return to the semifinals with a dramatic two-overtime victory over Monarch in the quarterfinals, where they lost for a third time on the season to the eventual state champion Eagles, who defeated them for a third time by a single goal.
Regis Jesuit got offense from a wide variety of sources, which included senior Michael Manville and junior Ian Beck.
Manville earned a spot on the All-State second team with a season in which he scored 12 goals and dished our 14 assists. He had multiple points in six games (including two with five points) and his season highlights included the game-winning goal with 16 seconds remaining in the Raiders’ 3-2 victory over 2021-22 5A state champion Denver East on Jan. 6. Manville was an All-Metro League first team performer.
Beck led Regis Jesuit with 16 assists on the season has he recorded at least one in 13 games, including one in the postseason, and had three helpers in addition to a goal in a win over Resurrection Christian Dec. 16. The All-Metro League second team pick also scored eight goals.
One of Aurora’s top performers on the backline was Regis Jesuit senior Chase Patterson, an honorable mention All-Metro League selection who finished the season with one goal (scored against Cherry Creek) and assists in five different contests. Patterson was a team captain.
The Raiders had an All-Metro League second team selection between the pipes in junior Alijah Hernandez, who split time with senior Ryan Miller for most of the season, but was counted on in the postseason with Miller out with an injury.
Hernandez had his lone shutout of the season against Fort Collins early in the season and he finished with a 2.66 Goals Against Average in the regular season. His GAA was 2.91 in two playoff games against Monarch and Valor Christian, while he saved 45 of the 51 shots he saw.
Coach Jeff Mielnicki’s Cherry Creek team — as usual a collection of players from throughout the Cherry Creek School District — had its season come to an end with a heartbreaking overtime quarterfinal loss to Ralston Valley, which went on to make the state title game.
The Bruins had a player that rose to the occasion in big moments consistently in senior forward Ayden Schmidt.
The senior from Cherokee Trail scored two goals and had two assists combined in Cherry Creek’s two postseason games, which included the game-winning goal with nine seconds remaining in a wild 6-5 first-round win over Resurrection Christian.
Schmidt, an All-Metro League honorable mention selection, had a hat trick in a win over Battle Mountain Feb. 18 and finished with a team-high 12 goals on the season. He also registered eight assists.
Cherry Creek’s backline had a steady senior performer in senior captain Garrett Veyna, who played well defensively and stayed out of the penalty box, while he also contributed to the team’s power play unit.
Veyna, who appeared on the All-Metro League honorable mention list, finished the season with four goals and seven assists. He registered at least one point in 10 games, including a goal in the quarterfinal loss to Ralston Valley.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2022-23 SENTINEL COLORADO ALL-AURORA ICE HOCKEY TEAM
Forward: Ian Beck, jr., Regis Jesuit; Michael Manville, sr., Regis Jesuit; Ayden Schmidt, sr., Cherry Creek (Cherokee Trail)
Defense: Chase Patterson, sr., Regis Jesuit; Garrett Veyna, sr., Cherry Creek
Forward: Parker Brinner, soph., Regis Jesuit; Dominic Suchkov, jr., Cherry Creek; Carter Schick, sr., Regis Jesuit
Defense: Dhilan Paranjape, jr., Regis Jesuit; Maximillion Tauoa, jr., Cherry Creek (Cherokee Trail)
Goaltender: Ethan Barnard, sr., Cherry Creek
Eric Burggraf, jr., Cherry Creek (Grandview) (F); Mark Hambrick, sr., Cherry Creek (Cherokee Trail) (D); Chandin Jenings, soph., Cherry Creek (Cherokee Trail) (F); Zachary Lorenzo, soph., Regis Jesuit (D); Ryan Miller, sr., Regis Jesuit (G); William O’Grady, jr., Cherry Creek (Grandview) (D); Reece Peterson, jr., Regis Jesuit (F); Nicolas Pineiro, jr., Regis Jesuit (F); Alexsei Suchkov, sr., Cherry Creek (F); Ryan Williams, sr., Regis Jesuit (D)