PARKER — The champs are the champs, and they're the champs for good reason.
Having been champions themselves, the eighth-ranked Monarch hockey players took their best shot at the defending state champion Regis Jesuit skaters on Friday night.
It wasn't enough.
The 2017 state champion Monarch Coyotes fell 4-1 on the road Friday night. The Coyotes took on a giant in Regis Jesuit, the same team they defeated for the state title two years ago, and left Family Sports Center having been bullied.
"Regis was definitely the better team," Monarch head coach Jimmy Dexter said. "They're so big and strong and fast. We have to play a perfect game to beat them. They took it to us. They carried the play. They had way more scoring chances than us and we just have to be better.
"We just have to play a perfect game against those guys."
While Friday night's loss was an eye-opening experience, the Coyotes held their ground early on in the road game.
The Coyotes trailed by two goals after the first period. But the Raiders broke the game open with a pair of goals in the second and the Monarch side couldn't catch up.
The Monarch boys have had their ups and downs so far this season, to be sure. But as the state tournament looms in late February, Dexter expects his team to be ready.
"We have three big games left," Dexter said. "If we can win them, I think we'll be a half-decent seed. I think we can make a run but I hope we don't have to run into Regis early."
They Coyotes will play Resurrection Christian on Saturday.