SUPERIOR -- The Monarch hockey team has methodically laid the foundation for meaningful success, but without a playoff victory, what the Coyotes did in the regular season might have seemed like a lot of busywork.
On Friday night, though, Monarch built on its foundation with flair by doing something it had never done before: winning a postseason game. And, for good measure, the Coyotes pummeled the team that they were eliminated by in last year's state playoffs.
MHS, seeded second in its half of the state playoff bracket, scored a season-high dozen goals to rout Lewis-Palmer 12-2 in their playoff opener in front of a boisterous home crowd at Boulder Valley Ice Arena.
The victory came after Monarch had lost in the first round of the state playoffs each of the past three seasons, including last year's 5-3 road defeat at the hands of Lewis-Palmer.
Friday's win earned the Coyotes a second home playoff contest. Saturday at 7:30 at Boulder Valley Ice, Monarch (17-1-2) will host third-seeded Air Academy (15-4-1) in the state quarterfinals. The Kadets defeated Mullen 5-1 earlier Friday at BVI.
"It feels great because last year these guys (from Lewis-Palmer) beat us in this game," said Cameron Gardner, who joined Jake Orsborn and Gian Cervo in scoring two goals apiece for Monarch. "It was fun to come back and play this game and have a great time and win 12-2.
"All the boys played really good. Everyone just stepped up big and played a great game tonight."
The Coyotes are normally a potent team, but they scored seven goals above their season average. They peppered Lewis-Palmer goaltender Lucas Palonen with 54 shots on goal.
"These guys were hungry, fired up and excited," MHS coach Jimmy Dexter said. "And hopefully we're not finished. One of our goals was obviously to get home playoffs, and our second goal was to get to the final four. So (Saturday) will be a big one for us."
On Friday, the Coyotes scored in bunches. With Cervo starting things off with a tally with 9:21 remaining in the first period, MHS notched three goals in a span of 1:41 to grab a 3-0 lead. And after taking a 4-2 lead into the first intermission, Monarch struck four times in a span of 5:50 in the second period to put the game away.
All told, 14 MHS players earned at least a point on Friday night. And it was all nice and balanced, with four goals each period.
On the defensive end, goaltender Aiko Kyle had a solid game for Monarch, allowing two goals and stopping 14 shots.
"Being home in the playoffs, and with a big crowd here tonight I think really helped us," Dexter said.
This weekend will mark the fifth time this season that Monarch has played two games in two days, with the Coyotes undefeated in that situation so far this season.
"We've just got to come out (Saturday) with the same mentality we had tonight, win the next game and carry on and keep going," Gardner said.
The Coyotes have lost only once this season -- to Ralston Valley, the top seed on the other half of the state bracket -- and they recently tied defending state champion Regis Jesuit.
Monarch 12, Lewis-Palmer 2
At Boulder Valley Ice Arena
Lewis-Palmer (10-9-1) 2 0 0 -- 2
Monarch (17-1-2) 4 4 4 -- 12
Goals (assists) -- Monarch: Cervo (Neitenbach), 7:39; Monarch: Gardner (Michels), 8:06; Monarch: Orsborn (White and Harris), 9:20 (pp); Lewis-Palmer: Smith (Prudhomme), 13:37 (pp); Monarch: Orsborn (Michels), 14:13; Lewis-Palmer: Johnson (Schaefer and Fraser), 15:39 (pp). Monarch: Gardner (Christofferson), 26:37; Monarch: Christofferson (unassisted), 29:59; Monarch: Cervo (unassisted) 30:20; Monarch: Buchan (unassisted), 32:27 (sh); Monarch: Burnett (unassisted), 38:39; Monarch: Kiyota (Taggart), 41:40; Monarch: Jamieson (Neitenbach), 47:47; Monarch: Ossorio (White), 49:55.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) -- Lewis-Palmer: Palonen (51-12-42); Monarch: Kyle (51-2-14).