As noted in the previous notebook, the last time Regis Jesuit lost a high school ice hockey game was to Lewis-Palmer almost two years ago.
The two teams faced off again Dec. 19 in Colorado Springs, in a rematch of last year’s state championship game that Regis won handily, 7-2. In this year’s installment, the teams skated to a 3-3 tie in regulation, but only 29 seconds into overtime, as Lewis-Palmer’s Lee Kyle scored on the power play to give the Rangers a 4-3 win.
Even though Lewis-Palmer coach Steve Fillo enjoyed the win, it didn't sooth the feeling of losing to Regis in the title game.
"It certainly was a great win for us," Fillo said. "It doesn't take away the sting of losing to them in the state final two years ago or the loss last year in the state championship game, but it still was a huge win for us."
It was only the second win of the season for the Rangers. After opening with a win against Kent Denver, Lewis-Palmer tied its next three games with Ralston Valley, Cheyenne Mountain and Air Academy.
"We are a very young team (only four seniors and only 11 returning players)," Fillo said. "And after blowing three consecutive two-goal leads in the third period because of mental errors, we were looking to finally have some success in closing games out."
From Fillo's point of view, the Regis win will give his team much-needed confidence heading into league play.
"Being as young and inexperienced as we are, this proves to them that they are as good a team as I have been telling them," Fillo said. "I think maybe they were beginning to doubt themselves after losing two-goal leads against Cheyenne Mountain and Air Academy, but fighting back against Regis – and beating them – is a huge confidence-builder."
MaxPreps Top 10 Rankings
1. Lewis-Palmer (2-0-3): The Rangers head into the New Year on an incredible high after knocking off two-time defending champion Regis Jesuit in overtime.
2. Ralston Valley (5-0-1): No team in the state has scored more goals than the Mustangs (37).
3. Regis Jesuit (6-1-0): The Raiders bounced back nicely, beating Cheyenne Mountain 5-1, after suffering their first loss in nearly two years.
4. Aspen (4-1-2): A tie against Doherty, the best team from the Peaks League, followed by an 8-0 shutout, will have the Skiers itching to get back on the ice.
5. Doherty (4-1-1): The Spartans entered the holiday break with the best record in the Peaks League, and the four wins are nearly half of what the Spartans totaled last year (nine).
6. Standley Lake (4-2-0): The Gators cooled off a red-hot Monarch team behind the state's leading scorer, Nick O'Donnell.
7. Battle Mountain (3-2-1): After playing six games in 12 days to open the season, the Huskies have nearly a month off before their next game.
8. Steamboat Springs (3-1-2): The Sailors will take a three-game winning streak into their first game after the break against Rampart.
9. Bishop Machebeuf (4-2-0): The Buffaloes have won four straight after losing the first two games of the season.
10. Chatfield (4-3-0): The Chargers have spent the winter break thinking about the loss to Dakota Ridge.
Around the leagues: A quick look at the other teams in the Peaks League
Air Academy (4-3-1): It took the Kadets until Jan. 7 last season to record their fourth win of the season. This year they had four wins before the winter break.
Rampart (4-2-0): If the Rams get on the scoreboard first, it's not good news for the opposition. In its four wins Rampart has scored the game's first goal.
Pueblo County (4-2-0): One of the main reasons for the Hornets' good start has been the play of Ryan Barnes. His 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) ties him for second-most in the state.
Pine Creek (3-3-1): After giving up eight goals in the season-opener loss to Regis, Eagles goalkeeper Chris Dylewski has allowed 11 goals in his next five games, posting a 3-1-1 mark.
Palmer (3-3-0): The scoring duo of Max Kay and Kirk VanArkel has given opponents fits in the first half of the season. The two have each scored 13 points, Kay scoring nine goals and dishing out four assists, while VanArkel has scored six times and has seven helpers.
Cheyenne Mountain (2-3-1): It was a tough 10 days for the Indians to close out the year, playing No. 4 Aspen (L 5-3), No. 3 Regis (L 5-1) and top-ranked Lewis-Palmer (T 2-2). It doesn't get easier when they travel to No. 5 Doherty after the break.
Valor Christian (2-4-0): A late congratulations to the Eagles on the program's first win on Dec. 5, when they beat Coronado 5-2, snapping a 19-game losing streak. Behind six goals from Michael Schoolcraft, five assists from Brandon Luke and a five-point game from Austin Wakely (1-4), the Eagles won their second game of the year, beating Peak to Peak 9-2.
Coronado (1-5-0): After losing their first four games of the season, the Cougars got in the win column by beating Liberty 7-5. Trevor Lim (4-1) and Nick Lang (2-3) each had five-point games in the win.
Liberty (0-7-0): Despite dropping its first seven games of the season, Liberty has received strong play from Ryder Conroy. He has nine points, scoring five goals and dishing out four assists.
Fountain Valley (0-4-0): The 0-4 record is a little deceiving, as the Danes have lost two games by a single goal and the others by two goals.
A quick look at the other teams in the Foothills League:
Monarch (4-2-0): The Coyotes are off to a great start in their first season, as the four wins have them among the league leaders in wins.
Colorado Academy (3-3-0): When it comes to scoring game-winning goals, Zach Wiebe knows a little something about that. Three of Wiebe's eight goals this season have been winners, which leads the state.
Summit (2-1-1): If there's one team that will be well rested when the season resumes in January, it will be the Tigers. The last game for Summit was Dec. 9 against Peak to Peak, a 6-1 victory for the Tigers. The next game for Summit will be Jan. 9 against Machebeuf.
Kent Denver (1-2-1): The Sun Devils got their first win of the season right before the break, beating Fountain Valley 5-4. They will need to keep that momentum going as they play No. 3 Regis on Jan. 2.
Columbine (1-3-1): Trent Edwards lead the Rebels with seven goals, but he has posted two hat tricks this season; scoring three times against Liberty and another three against Dakota Ridge.
Dakota Ridge (1-4-1): The Eagles started the season with some tough games. Opening night was against No. 5 Doherty (L 6-1), then No. 6 Standley Lake (L 8-0), No. 4 Aspen (L 4-0), No. 2 Ralston Valley (9-0) and then-No. 10 Chatfield (W 4-1).
Heritage (1-6-0): The Eagles snapped a nine-game losing streak dating back to last year with their 5-3 win against Valor Christian on Dec. 19. Sean Cooper scored twice, while Alex Outzen made 18 saves.
Peak to Peak (1-6-0): The Pumas offense has sputtered since their 5-2 win against Rampart on Dec. 5, scoring a combined six goals in five games.