FORT COLLINS — The gauntlet that Monarch ran through in the opening weeks of the season has prepared them for April and, more importantly, May.
For the first time in the history of coach David Auday's program, the Coyotes opened the season 1-5 — suffering losses to in-state powerhouse Columbine, Cherry Creek and Colorado Academy, as well as a pair of teams from Texas.
It has made them better.
After Friday night's rain-soaked 13-3 win over Rocky Mountain at French Field, the Coyotes have won five in a row, run their overall record to 6-5 and are a perfect 3-0 in the Front Range League.
"Since we had that brutal schedule to start the season, now we are just taking care of business," said Auday, whose team will have to deal with Wheat Ridge next Wednesday in a game that will have the winner in the Front Range driver's seat. "The camaraderie has been great.
"Never have we gone 1-5 out of the shoot, and we knew we might not get the results in the wins and losses, but now it should pay dividends."
Against what was a very stubborn Rocky Mountain team — the score was 3-3 midway through the second quarter — it took a while to get things cranked up for the Coyotes.
One goal in particular seem to light a fire under Monarch, and it was the first of three from Dylan Torres. The Broomfield junior, working behind the cage, broke free — albeit slightly — of his defender and, even with him still draped all over him, was able to get a shot off and beat Rocky Mountain goalie Zachary Groff, who had made eight save in the first quarter alone.
The post goal celebration, that included a little taunt, was just what the doctor ordered for the Monarch offense.
"We just needed a spark on offense and I really think that started it," Torres said. "I just needed to get our guys up and motivate them to do what we needed to do."
After Rocky Mountain scored with 6:36 to go in the second to make it 3-3, Monarch would go on to score 10 unanswered goals against the Lobos.
A 5-0 run before halftime, highlighted by two more Torres goals, made the cold night feel a little warmer.
Monarch did its homework on the Lobos and were able to exploit some glaring weaknesses in Rocky Mountain's defense all night.
"We did our due diligence and saw that their defensive middies just didn't have the speed or the strength to keep up with Dylan, Ty (Bradley), Jared (Hodell) or Bryce (Mayemura) and we exploited that in a big way," said Auday, whose team registered just one assist all night. "Even though the assists didn't show up, they were moving the ball well.
"It was boom-boom-boom-boom-dodge and it was pretty to watch."
Travis Hitt, Bradley and Torres all scored three times and starting goalie Eli Korac was solid in net, making the necessary stops when his team needed them.
MONARCH 13, ROCKY MOUNTAIN 3
At French FieldMonarch (6-5, 3-0)1732—13
Rocky Mtn. (6-4, 1-2)1200—3
Goals — Monarch: Travis Hitt 3, Tyler Bradley 3, Dylan Torres 3, Robert Brazanskas, Drew Tausan, Dylan Haines, Ben Riecken; Rocky Mountain: Spencer Schwartz, Jimmy Carson, Nolan Drop.
Assists — Monarch: Hitt; Rocky Mountain: none.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Monarch: Eli Korac (40-3-5), Seth Doyle (8-0-1); Rocky Mountain: Zachary Groff (48-13-9).