ENGLEWOOD — After graduating 18 seniors from a season ago, Monarch’s unseasoned roster proved it could still play right along with the state powers after narrow defeats to Valor Christian and Cherry Creek in a span of less than 24 hours.
Talent certainly isn’t missing. Just — “discipline, discipline, discipline,” Monarch coach Jimmy Dexter said.
Caleb Gold and Zack Given scored 4 minutes, 22 seconds apart in the first period to help the Coyotes shrug off a slow start, but the offense couldn’t squeeze another past Cherry Creek keeper Dylan Romanow in a penalty-ridden 4-2 loss Saturday at the Family Sports Center’s Hamilton Rink.
Afterward, Monarch’s frustrated coach blamed the loss on “too many stupid penalties”.
“We had some momentum and we’re taking absolutely horrible penalties,” Dexter said. “You can’t take (those) against good teams.”
Hunter Fieweger scored twice for the Bruins, including the go-ahead goal 2:55 into the second, and Romanow was solid in net with 24 saves as Cherry Creek improved to 4-0.
Nicholas Hoppe added a goal 55 seconds into the game and Jacob Tudan secured the win with a short-handed, empty-net goal with 4 seconds remaining.
Fieweger’s team-leading fifth goal came on the first of six Cherry Creek power plays and broke a 2-2 tie. The Bruins scored just once with the extra-man advantage — more devastating for the Coyotes was how their unneeded penalties served as momentum-killers.
“After the whistle, it looked like to me we tripped a guy going to his bench,” Dexter said. “We took an early slashing penalty that they scored on. Just got to be smarter.
“Last night we took some dumb ones and we took some really dumb ones today.”
Monarch (2-2) had seven penalties on Saturday after committing eight in Friday night’s 2-0 loss to Valor Christian.
“You can’t win hockey games, especially close ones, when you’re having penalties that are not even good penalties,” Given said.
Monarch, meanwhile, went 0-for-6 on the power play.
The Coyotes found a little life in the first period after Cherry Creek scored twice in the first 5:10 of the game. Gold fired a wrister past Romanow 6:02 into the game and Given tied things a short while later.
“We have a lot of potential,” Dexter said. “But we weren’t ready to play last night in the first, weren’t ready to play tonight in the first. We played much better after in both games, but in both just some bad, bad penalties.”
Ian Capdevielle stopped 19 shots in the loss. Monarch’s goaltending duo of Capdevielle and Dylan Sheets has been efficient through four games. Sheets was the hard-luck loser in Monarch’s loss to Valor and has allowed just one goal on 51 shots. Capdevielle has stopped 36 of 41.
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Cherry Creek 4, Monarch 2
Monarch (2-2-0) 2 0 0 — 2
Goals (assists) — Monarch: Gold (Steinbarth), first period, 6:02; Z. Given (Scatena), first period, 10:24. Cherry Creek: Hoppe (Nelson, Delaney), first period, 0:55; Fieweger (Benson, Brown), first period, 5:10; Fieweger (Benson, Ranone), second period, 2:55 (power play); Tudan, third period, 16:56 (short-handed, empty net).
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Monarch: Capdevielle (49-3-19); Cherry Creek: Romanow (51-2-24).