SUPERIOR — Monarch junior Jake Christofferson came close to notching a hat trick Wednesday.
But what he didn’t get in goals, he earned in assists.
Christofferson scored two goals and added three assists to power Monarch to a decisive 7-1 victory against Cheyenne Mountain in the Coyotes’ home opener at the Boulder Valley Ice Arena. The Coyotes improved to 2-2. Cheyenne Mountain fell to 2-2-1.
“Things just clicked for us,” Christofferson said. “I thought we really worked hard as a team and we finally bonded together. We just came out hard, not trying to do everything ourselves, but as a team. When the puck did get into our zone, our keeper (Akira Kyle) played great, on his head making saves when we needed him.”
Monarch’s Thomas Evans tallied the first goal for the Coyotes with 9 minutes, 28-seconds left in the opening period, on assists from Christofferson and Cameron Taggart. They made it 2-0 with only :08 on the clock in the opening stanza, this time with Christofferson scoring his first goal. In this case, he was assisted by Justin White and Mac Simonson.
Yet, it might have been a lot worse had it not been for some outstanding play in the net by Cheyenne goalie Cole Heggem. Monarch out-shot the visitors 19-4 in the period.
Christofferson made it 3-0 with 16:46 left in the second period on his unassisted shot. Then the Coyotes upped the count to 4-0 with 12:47 remaining on a goal by Walker Harris, assisted by Christofferson and Kmitri Kyle.
Cheyenne Mountain’s Garrett Hodson scored the Indians only goal in the game with 9:01 left in the second period, assisted by Aaron Agius and J.D. Maxwell. And, again, the Indians had trouble getting their offense on track only getting off five shots against Monarch’s swarming defense.
David Neitenbach’s goal with 38 seconds left in the period, on an assist from Justin White, gave Monarch a commanding 5-1 lead going into the final period.
“I thought this was a super teammate effort,” said White, a freshman defenseman. “Coming from the D, the forwards really supported us. When we played a team like Regis, with faster players, a lot of our forwards just flew out of the zone and didn’t support our D and we had the puck in our zone most of the game.
“This time our forwards really came low and helped us support and made my job as a D a lot easier,” White said. “I felt it was a little surprising, though, that we spent so much time in their area. We came together as a team, we really passed the puck. These guys were running around like squirts.”
White helped Monarch up the score to 6-1 when he added a goal with 15:35 left in the third period, taking advantage of assists from Christofferson and David Giroux. Monarch closed out the scoring with 6:38 left in the game on a goal by Hunter Behrens, assisted by Noah Zimmerman and Cameron Taggart.
It turned out to be a solid day for Monarch coach Jimmy Dexter and his staff.
“It was fun to watch,” said Dexter, in this third season at Monarch. “Some of these younger players are really gaining some confidence and we played a good hockey game. Jake had a phenomenal game, but so did guys like Walker Harris and Steve McKio on their lines. Yeah, everyone was playing well together.
“Our keeper didn’t have to face so many shots and that’s always a good thing,” Dexter added. “I don’t know if the long bus ride for Cheyenne made them come out flat that they just never recovered. Hopefully, we are just getting better and for a home opener, this was great.”
Cheyenne Mountain coach Erik Austin just shook his head trying to find an answer to his team’s performance.
“I think we just left everything on the bus,” Austin said. “We had three games in four days, two conference games with a little more on the line. I’m not making any excuses, but we were just terrible across the board and they played so well.”
Monarch 7, Cheyenne Mountain 1
Cheyenne Mountain 0 1 0 — 1
Monarch 2 3 2 — 7
First period: M, 9:28, Thomas Evans (Jake Christofferson, Cameron Taggart); M, :08.4, Christofferson (Justin White, Mac Simonson).
Second period: M, 16:48, Christofferson (unassisted); M, 12:47, Walker Harris (Dmitri Kyle, Christofferson); CM, 9:01, Garrett Hodson (Aaron Agius, J.D. Maxwell); M, :38.2, David Neitenbach (White).
Third period: M, 15:35, White (Christofferson, David Giroux); M, 6:38, Hunter Behrens (Noah Zimmerman, Taggart).
Shots: CM, 15; M, 37. Saves: CM, Cole Heggem, 31; M, Kyle Akira, 12.
Penalties — Second period: M, Joey Buchan, 2:00, hooking; M, Zach Milavitz, 2:00, cross checking. Third period: CM, Ryan Case, 2:00, cross checking; CM, Garrett Hodson, 2:00, slashing; CM, Mike Vail, 2:00, head contact.