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Ice hockey: Monarch eyes second half of the season after Marshall Fire

Coyotes return to Sports Stable late Saturday night

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The ice hockey team at Monarch is among the high school programs that have been hit hard by the Marshall Fire, the fast-spreading blaze from Dec. 30 that left more than 1,000 homes in ruins.

The Coyotes’ home arena —the Sports Stable in Superior — was in the burn area but remains standing and is undergoing restoration.

The team, goalie Sean Farrar said, remains intact, too.

“During the fire we immediately checked on the guys we knew were in a dangerous area, and the guys in a safe area even offered them places to stay,” the senior said. “Following the fire, the team has come together for each other, giving help to anyone who needs it.”

Monarch went an impressive 5-1 in December and was scheduled to play its first game since, facing Centaurus late Saturday night at the Stable. The 8:25 p.m. puck drop wasn’t open to spectators due to ongoing work on parts of the building.

“Just with the damage from the wind and the soot we’re kind of cleaning the facility in stages,” said Monarch coach Jimmy Dexter, who is also the general manager of the complex. “It’s definitely safe for anyone coming into the east side and playing and skating. It’s just it would be kind of tight (on the east side rink) if we really had a big crowd.”

Monarch should certainly have quite the following when things reopen.

The Coyotes started the year with five straight wins in which it outscored their opponent 23-6. Then right before the holiday break, it struggled early against 2021 Class 5A Frozen Four finalist Regis Jesuit and couldn’t overcome it in a 5-1 loss.

Out in front of the successful open has been MoHi’s goaltending. The combination of Farrar and Simon Holstein have combined to allow 11 goals and have stopped 91 shots. Farrar has a 2.28 goals-against average in 224 minutes, while Holstein has made 21 saves on 22 attempts in 85 minutes.

Dexter said the tandem has played great. He couldn’t call either the true No. 1 over the other.

“It’s the first time I can say in years that we have really good goaltending,” Dexter said. “I mean that’s kind of been our Achilles’ heel over the years. Sometimes we’ve had a really strong team, but our goaltending, it’s not been horrible, but not that great.”

Going forward, he said, “I feel comfortable putting either goalie in against any team right now.”

After a four-team 5A postseason last year coincided with pandemic rules, the classification has reopened the field to 12 teams this winter.

Monarch, a regular late in the playoffs outside of last year, reached the championship game in five straight years from 2013-17. The run ended with its first state title.

Now, it’s looking for No. 2.

“We all as a team have great relationships with each other and are escalating our intensity for the second half of the season, in practice and in game,” Farrar said. “We have our sights set on a state championship and don’t want anything less.”

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