LOUISVILLE — Give Blake Bride this: He doesn’t lack confidence.
The junior on the Monarch hockey team scored two goals as the Coyotes, ranked fourth in the latest CHSAANow.com poll, delivered a 6-0 pasting of No. 9 Lewis-Palmer on Saturday at Boulder Valley Ice. And although the Rangers are a top-10 team, Bride couldn’t be labeled as shocked, or even surprised by any stretch, about the way things unfolded.
“We’re a pretty dominant team,” Bride said. “I think we can beat any team by a substantial margin. It’s just how we come out to play. We came out well today, other than an off-period or so.”
Bride, who attends Peak to Peak High School, capped the scoring with a marvelous intercept-and-blast to put a fitting close to the win. Monarch outshot the visiting Rangers 33-11, but for a while things were dead even.
The shots kept circulating in the first period, and for more than 12 minutes, Lewis-Palmer goaltender Marcus Smith was up to the task. But when the goals came for Monarch, they came in droves.
“We came out a little slow, but about halfway through the first period we executed what our game plan was,” Coyotes senior forward Mike Van Haute said.
First Van Haute broke the scoreless tie and Tim Morton followed up 58 seconds later to give Monarch a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Mahito Henderson scored early in the second, then Bride notched his first goal 27 seconds later and the Coyotes were rolling in the nonleague contest.
“We keep getting better weekly, I think,” Monarch coach Jimmy Dexter said. “I think this is a top-four team from the south, so it’s nice that we could put up what we did against them.”
Brendan Van Haute capped the second period with a goal with 1 minute, 3 seconds remaining. That allowed the sophomore to match his senior brother with a tally after Mike notched the icebreaker.
“We’ve played on club teams for a couple years on and off, but this is the first high school sport that we’re on the same team together,” said Mike Van Haute of the brothers who attend Boulder High.
Hampus Akesson notched the shutout for Monarch, although he wasn’t super busy with 11 stops. The Coyotes penalty-kill unit made its presence felt in the third, when it staved off two 5-on-3 advantages for the Rangers (6-5), one for 58 seconds, one for 1:18.
Andrew Pickner added two assists for Monarch in a contest that was starting to get a bit too heated midway through.
“We were playing well and they were playing physical to try and take us off our game,” Dexter said. “Chippy, and we kind off bought into it which hurt us a bit during that lull when we were stuck at four goals for awhile.”
Monarch’s Drew Wagner and Lewis-Palmer’s Kamren Shoup were ejected in the second period for fighting when the chippiness reached its crescendo, but things calmed down from there.
As for Bride, he’s well aware that Ralston Valley is the only team that has beaten Monarch over the past three seasons. The Coyotes are 0-4 against the Mustangs (including two title-game defeats) and 44-0-5 against everyone else.
But for someone with Bride’s brash confidence, he’s eagerly eyeing the teams’ season-closing contest on Feb. 21.
“We’ll just play them like we play every other team,” Bride said. “But we’re really prepared for them this year and I think we’re going to come out and just destroy them this next game.”
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Monarch 6, Lewis-Palmer 0
At Boulder Valley Ice
Lewis-Palmer (6-5-0) 0 0 0 — 0
Monarch (6-0-1) 2 3 1 — 6
Goals (assists) — First period: Monarch, Mike Van Haute (Blake Bride, Andrew Pickner), 12:19; Monarch, Tim Morton (Jake Young, Drew Wagner), 13:17; Second period: Monarch, Mahito Henderson (Alec Michels, Justin White), 4:37; Monarch, Blake Bride (Pickner), 5:04; Monarch, Brendan Van Haute, 15:57; Third period: Monarch, Bride, 12:34.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Lewis-Palmer: Marcus Smith (51-6-27); Monarch: Hampus Akesson (51-0-11).