Aspen High hockey team to open state playoffs

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The Aspen High School hockey team will open the state playoffs Friday on the road.

The Skiers, who finished the regular season 10-8-0, will take on Mountain Vista, the No. 1 seed from the Peak League, at 6:20 p.m. Friday at the South Suburban Ice Rink in the Denver area.

Mountain Vista’s Golden Eagles are 12-5-0 overall.

They finished 11-1-0 in the Peak League and earned the top seed from the conference.

Aspen earned the No. 8 and final playoff position in the Foothills League. The Skiers were 9-8-0 in conference play.

The Aspen Skiers qualified for the state playoffs with crucial back-to-back league wins over Summit (2-0) and Battle Mountain (4-1) last week.

Those wins came after the Skiers nearly stunned Monarch High School, the top team in the Foothills League.

The Skiers led twice in the game against Monarch at the Lewis Ice Arena. But Monarch rallied for a hard-fought 4-2 victory over the Skiers.

The winner of the Aspen-Mountain Vista game will advance to the second round of the state playoffs on Saturday.

The winner will play the winner of No. 5 Liberty (9-6-3) vs. No. 4 Cherry Creek (15-4-0), the defending state champion.

Also on Aspen’s side of the bracket, No. 2 Regis Jesuit (18-1-0) will take on No. 7 Cheyenne Mountain (7-10-1), and No. 3 Lewis-Palmer (13-5-1) will take on No. 6 Steamboat Springs (12-6-0).

The top half of the bracket will feature overall No. 1 Monarch (18-0-0) against Heritage (9-10-0).

Doherty (13-4-0) will take on Dakota Ridge (15-4-0) in another first-round game.

Denver East (13-5-1) is matched against Resurrection Christian (12-7-0), and Ralston Valley (17-2-0) will play Valor Christian (10-8-1).

After the state quarterfinals on Saturday, the state hockey semifinals will be March 3 with the state championship game set for March 5.