If the Monarch hockey team is going to advance deep into the state tournament, the Coyotes are going to have to earn it.
Designated a No. 7 seed for the third consecutive season when the brackets were unveiled Sunday, the Coyotes (11-6-1) will open at two-time defending state champion Lewis-Palmer on Friday. The Rangers (13-6) are seeded No. 2.
And if MoHi is fortunate enough to get past that one, Foothills Conference foe Resurrection Christian likely will be waiting the following day. The Coyotes dropped two games to Resurrection Christian this season, 9-1 in the season opener and 5-2 on Jan. 27.
Monarch has plenty of firepower, led by Jake Christofferson (19 goals, 12 assists) and Dima Kyle (12 and 15).
Monarch is looking to advance past the first round for the first time. Last season, the Coyotes fell to No. 2 Fountain Valley 3-2 in overtime. In 2010, the Coyotes were blanked 5-0 by No. 10 Cheyenne Mountain.
The bracket was seeded 1-through-16 that season rather than the current setup of two 1-through-8 brackets.
State hockey tournament
FIRST ROUND (Feb. 24)
No. 8 Palmer (11-8) at No. 1. Ralston Valley (17-1-1)
No. 5 Standley Lake (11-7-1) at No. 4 Liberty (13-6)
No. 7 Monarch (11-6-1) at No. 2 Lewis-Palmer (13-6)
No. 6 Valor Christian (11-7-1) at No. 3 Resurrection Christian (14-4)
No. 7 Heritage (11-8) at No. 2 Regis Jesuit (18-1)
No. 6 Kent Denver (10-6-3) at No. 3 Mountain Vista (12-4-2)
No. 5 Fountain Valley (14-5) at No. 4 Chatfield (12-6-1)
No. 8 Steamboat Springs (11-7-1) at No. 1 Bishop Machebeuf (14-5)
Feb. 25 at host sites
March 2, at Magness Arena
March 3, at Magness Arena