LOUISVILLE -- Walker Harris was an illusionist in the third period Monday. Notching back-to-back goals, the Monarch forward made scoring appear easy.
Really, lighting the lamp was anything but simple at Boulder Valley Ice at Superior.
The Coyotes might have come off the ice with a 6-0 win over Columbine, but the Rebels' keeper made the team work for every single goal. Charlie Marchese was all over every square inch of the crease, making netting the puck more a matter of attrition than skill.
"He was a good goalie," said Harris, who had four points in the game. "We realized we had to get two shots on him for every attack. Once we started to get the rebounds the puck started going in."
The Coyotes had to lay 48 shots on goal to come up with their winning margin. But once Monarch (14-1, 9-1) figured out the most fruitful tactic against Columbine (5-13, 5-8), the Coyotes thrived. After coming up with one goal in the first 17 minutes of play, the team cracked the game wide open in the second period. Monarch had three different players record goals with Jake Christofferson sparking the fuse 4 minutes into the period with his second of the game. The turn around from such a frustrating start was a relief to Jimmy Dexter, not only in the context of the game, but also the season.
With the Coyotes heading into the home stretch of their schedule, the coach believes his team is finally putting together a full game of hockey.
"Almost halfway through the season we had difficulty playing three periods," Dexter said. "We'd play one good one, maybe two. These last three games the guys have really played three periods."
The Coyotes hitting on all cylinders could not come at a better time. The postseason is only four games away, but Monarch also has the potential to net some regular season glory.
Monarch is still in the running for the Foothills Conference title, but has its work cut out to claim the trophy. The Coyotes face defending state champion Regis (12-0-2, 7-0-2) next Monday, which has yet to lose this season, in what should be the decisive game for the conference champion.
"I'm excited," Dexter said. "The guys still have to be more disciplined, but they're getting it."
The Coyotes themselves understand the opportunity they have in facing the Raiders.
"I think we can show we're back and contending for a state title," Harris said. "I think some teams see us beating weaker teams and don't believe we can compete against the tough teams. But we'll show them."
Pouring on the attack in recent games has Monarch ready to rumble against Regis. But it is not the only aspect that has the Coyotes believing they can take on the big dogs. As proven Monday, the team's defense is also in tip-top form. Aiko Kyle helped Monarch chalk up its sixth shutout of the season. But the keeper had an easy go, with his defense limiting the Rebels to 16 shots.
Even with everything apparently swinging Monarch's way, there are some Coyotes sweating bullets heading into next week.
"I don't know if I'm looking forward to Regis, as much as I'm nervous," Christofferson said. "But I'm ready for it, we all are."
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
Monarch 6, Columbine 0
At Boulder Valley Ice at Superior
Columbine (5-13, 5-8) 0 0 0 -- 0
Monarch (14-1, 9-1) 1 3 2 -- 6
Goals (assists) -- First period -- Monarch: Jake Christofferson, (D.J. Burnett, Walker Harris), 10:02. Second period -- Monarch: Jake Christofferson, (Walker Harris, D.J. Burnett), 3:50; Monarch: Alex Barber,(Brett Kiyota, Andrew Link), 8:54; Monarch: Jake Orsborn, (Tim Morton, Alex Barber), 13:28. Third period -- Monarch: Walker Harris, (Kevin Palm, Jake Christofferson), 11:00; Monarch: Walker Harris, (Jake Christofferson, D.J. Burnett), 15:55.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) -- Columbine: Charlie Marchese (51-6-42). Monarch: Aiko Kyle (51-0-16).