Ice hockey: Monarch punches ticket to 1st semifinal since 2018

Feb. 28—LITTLETON — A hostile crowd turned on Monarch's Jaren Ng after the junior got into a scrum during the second period of Wednesday's Class 5A hockey quarterfinals.

He smiled and put his glove up like a puppet, mimicking the jeers in tune. "Super fun," he cracked about it afterward.

The South Suburban Sports Complex, the site for 5A's quarterfinals and semifinals rounds, also happened to be home ice for Monarch's opponent, Heritage.

Its fans stretched across bleachers the length of the rink and well outnumbered the Coyotes' traveling base. Red and rambunctious, and at last, foiled, No. 4 Monarch sent the 12th-ranked Eagles and their faithful home unhappy, punching its ticket into Colorado's Frozen Four for the first time in six years with a 4-2 win.

"Hopefully we can get a couple more wins with this group," said coach Jimmy Dexter, whose team will face No. 1 Regis Jesuit back at the complex Saturday afternoon.

Earlier, Heritage fans were sent into a frenzy thanks to Kellen Metsker's opening goal late in the first period — only to be hushed by Branden Desouza-Chen's tying strike for Monarch 59 seconds later.

The Coyotes (10-4-6) got goals from Desouza-Chen and Colter Urban within 2 1/2 minutes late in the first, then from Connor Wilkerson and Charlie Broome in a span of 1:16 in the second to push the lead to 4-1.

Joshua Ringoen helped seal things in net in the third, where he made 10 of his 21 saves.

"We've not seen crowds this big, especially in the regular season, so having a lot of cheering when a team is gaining some momentum is hard to combat," the sophomore netminder said. "It shows a lot that we were able to fight through it."

The Coyotes were playing in their first game in 11 days after receiving a first-round bye. They outshot the Eagles, 47-23.

Ben Rosenberg assisted Desouza-Chen and Urban in the first period, where the Coyotes had 22 shots to Heritage's five.

Trey Chance got his second helper of the night on Monarch's final goal — Broome with 11:20 left in the second — helping fuel a period in which the Coyotes doubled the Eagles' chances with 16.

In the third, Ringoen helped fend off two power plays to preserve his first win in net since Dec. 16. The sophomore split time with freshman Andrew Hughes this season.

Going into Saturday, Dexter said Ringoen is expected to start. The sophomore started both games against the Raiders during the regular season, with Monarch tying them 2-2 at the Sports Stable Jan. 27 before losing 4-1 on the road Feb. 8.

Regis Jesuit's freshman goalie Easton Sparks stopped 41 of the 44 shots he faced over those two games.

"We need everyone working, going as hard as they can," Urban said of pulling off an upset. "We need the team working as one unit."

A win over Regis Jesuit would put Monarch into the finals for the first time since 2017, the year the Coyotes won their first and only state title.