ARVADA — Give the ice hockey program at Monarch High School credit. Buried in ice shavings after being on the wrong side of a pair two emphatic bursts from host Ralston Valley late Friday night, the Coyotes proved they know how to pick themselves up from a beating.
Most draws in any sport don’t usually rouse a whooping applause, though Monarch’s eventual 5-5 stalemate to the Mustangs at Apex Center Ice Arena certainly proved the exception.
Fairview student Benjamin Wiener scored his first of two goals late in the opening period to nix an early two-goal deficit, Jaren Ng capped off an even bigger rally to erase a three-goal deficit in the third, and the CHSAA Class 5A No. 3 Coyotes escaped from almost certain defeat at the hands of No. 7 Ralston Valley.
“A lot of mistakes early but being down 5-2 against a team as good as Ralston, I think a lot of teams would have just packed it in,” Monarch coach Jimmy Dexter said. “Just an unbelievable group of young men. They just believe and just fought.”
Racing back from an early two-goal deficit, Blake Frese scored his second goal of the year with 2 minutes and 41 seconds left in the first and Wiener finished on a two-on-one shorthanded chance opposite Vincent Felt in the final minute to even things.
After an even more disheartening burst from the Mustangs in the second, scoring three straight, Wiener ended the run with his fourth goal of the year. Jack Davila and Ng followed in the third with goals 1:24 apart.
Felt nearly had the winner with 2:05 remaining in regulation but his shot beat keeper Zaiden Guthrie only to kiss the opposite post.
“When I did see that didn’t go in I was a little rattled,” said Felt, who finished with three assists and now has a team-leading nine points on the year. He then smiled. “But it was all good.”
The Coyotes (5-1-1, 2-1-1 5A Metro League) were ranked the No. 1 team in the 5A classification before a 1-0 loss to Cherry Creek dropped them to third this week. In a follow-up game that didn’t start until after 8 p.m., a second consecutive loss seemed likely. Then it didn’t. Then it really did. And back again.
Christopher Homer and Dylan Faulhaber scored 3:40 apart in the first to give the Mustangs (4-3-2, 3-3-2) a 2-0 lead. That washed away. Gabriel Kennedy then had back-to-back goals to start the second and Devin Strong added another on a power play to make it 5-2 with 7:44 left in the second. But that wasn’t enough either.
For as easy as the goals seemed to fall for the Mustangs at times, their chances dried up as convincingly.
Monarch went on to outshoot them 38-28, including 8-2 in a momentum-flipping third. The Coyotes had all the momentum until they were called for a penalty with 2:35 left in overtime.
“We got a lot of things to learn from and take away from that game,” Wiener said. “But we’re going to be going into the rest of the season hot and looking for a state title.”
Monarch will travel to Pueblo Ice Arena to face Pueblo County Monday. It then returns home to face No. 4 Valor Christian at the Sports Stable Thursday.