Regis Jesuit’s phenomenal 2017-18 ice hockey season saw the Raiders finish a perfect 23-0 and win the program’s fifth state title.
Coach Dan Woodley’s Regis Jesuit team — which came seconds from winning the U.S. High School national championship after the season — dominated for the entire season, which ended with a 2-0 victory over Valor Christian at the Pepsi Center in the state final.
The talented Raiders featured most of the talent on the 2017-18 Sentinel All-Aurora Ice Hockey Teams, which are selected by the Sentinel in conjunction with balloting of the two coaches with Aurora players on their rosters in Woodley and Jeff Mielnicki of the Cherry Creek co-op team.
Senior Connor Kilkenny’s shorthanded goal in the first period of the championship game proved to be the game winner and gave him four goals in five postseason games and 17 for the season to go with 22 assists.
Kilkenny’s four game-winning goals put him second on the team.
Senior Shane Ott — voted the player of the year by the Colorado High School Ice Hockey Coaches Association — had a massive season and led the Raiders’ most potent line.
Ott led the team and the state in in assists with 29, which included 10 in the playoffs, while he finished second on his team with 21 goals. His 48 total points were the fourth-most in the state.
Regis Jesuit also had the top two defensemen locally in Rowan Barnes and Nolan Sargent, plus a goaltender in Max Harlan who recorded a pair of postseason shutouts. The Raiders yielded just two goals in the playoffs and both were on power play chances for opponents.
Working heavily on the power play, Sargent racked up 17 assists on the season to rank fifth on the team (in addition to two goals scored), while Barnes — a captain — chipped in 3 goals and 10 assists from the back line.
Harlan alternated with junior Marco Sandoval during the regular season, but he spent every minute of the postseason in the nets for Regis Jesuit. He had three shutouts during the regular season and added two in the postseason to finish 15-0 with a sparkling 1.13 GAA.
Coach Jeff Mielnick’s Cherry Creek co-op team — a mix of players from all across the Cherry Creek School District — exited the postseason earlier than usual with a second round loss to Kent Denver — but the Bruins had plenty of young talent that improved.
Sophomore forward Blake Benson (Cherry Creek) racked up 16 goals to lead the Bruins.
The most notable thing for the All-Foothills Conference honorable mention selection was that five of those 16 goals were shorthanded, which was the most for either team involving local players and tied for fifth-most in the state.
Benson picked up three assists and served a major role taking faceoffs for Cherry Creek.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorsports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports
2017-18 SENTINEL ALL-AURORA ICE HOCKEY TEAMS
Forward — Blake Benson, Cherry Creek, soph.; Connor Kilkenny, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Shane Ott, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Defense — Rowan Barnes, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Nolan Sargent, Regis Jesuit, soph.; Goaltender — Max Harlan, Regis Jesuit, sr.
Forward — Paxton Erickson, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Kale Lone, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Neal Sklar, Cherry Creek, sr.; Defense — Justin Lico, Regis Jesuit, jr.; Henry Raabe, Cherry Creek, sr.; Goaltender — Marco Sandoval, Regis Jesuit, jr.
Lucas Banks (G), Cherry Creek, sr.; Anders Erickson, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Shane Gautsche, Regis Jesuit, jr.; Colton Holub, Cherry Creek, sr.; Brenden Oren, Cherry Creek (Grandview), sr.; Wyatt Verity, Regis Jesuit, sr.