Battle Mountain draws top seed
VAIL, Colorado ” Battle Mountain hockey defenseman Charlie Tedstrom momentarily forget Sunday was the day the seedings for the state tournament came out.
“My brother (Connor) text-messaged me to check it out on the computer,” Charlie said. “I kind of forgot about it. We’re both pretty excited.”
As well the Tedstrom brothers and the rest of Battle Mountain hockey should be. Charlie thumbed away on his cell, texting Connor the good news ” Battle Mountain is the No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
“It’s always nice to be seeded No. 1. It’s an honor,” senior forward Sam Sterling said. “But we’ve got to win four games no matter what seed we got.”
And that’s the rub. The Huskies want to keep that designation through March 1st’s championship game at the World Arena in Colorado Springs.
The Huskies host the Vail region, one of four subsets of the field of 16. Battle Mountain (17-2), the champion of the Peak Conference, hosts No. 16 Chatfield (6-11-2), which finished eighth in the Foothills Conference, at Dobson Arena Friday at 6 p.m.
No. 8 Palmer (14-5) and No. 9 Summit County (13-6) face off Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Dobson. The winners of Friday’s game meet Saturday at 6 p.m. with a berth to the Frozen Four on the line.
A look at the regions:
Serving as the mountain hosts for the first time since 2004, the Huskies are positively thrilled to be on home ice, and stand a solid chance to move through to the Frozen Four.
The Chargers and Huskies have never met before, so head coach Gary Defina doesn’t know much about Chatfield. The early word is that the Chargers have goaltending in Cory Johnson.
Chatfield, aside from a 7-2 loss at Summit last week, has played a lot of close games. The Chargers lost to No. 4 Kent Denver, 1-0, No. 2 Regis, 3-2, and beat Palmer, 4-3, just to name a few.
Battle Mountain enters the first round hoping to expunge memories of its first-round exit last year. As a No. 9, the Huskies lost to Standley Lake, 3-2. In retrospect, Battle Mountain was probably looking ahead to a possible meeting with No. 1 Ralston Valley which never materialized.
“It’s a little bit of motivation,” Sterling said. “You want to block that out during the game because you don’t want it to happen again. You’ve got to think about it during practice to keep you going.”
At the same time, the Huskies most definitely will be intrigued by the other Friday night game at Dobson. Battle Mountain knows No. 8 Palmer and No. 9 Summit very well. The Huskies beat Palmer, 4-2, here last month.
And then there are the Tigers. Battle Mountain had never lost to Summit in the program’s history until this season. The Tigers promptly handed the Huskies their only two losses of the season.
Battle Mountain’s defense was in disarray in December, and the Huskies allowed a whopping 12 goals to the Tigers in those two games. In the Huskies’ other 17 games this season, they’ve allowed just 21 goals.
“It should be a very interesting game,” Sterling said diplomatically. “Of course, we’ve got to focus on our game, and if we advance, it should be a good game either way.”
Defina, on the other hand, cut to the chase.
“They want a piece of Summit,” he said. “Yes, they want to show them who’s who and what’s what.”
No. 4 Kent Denver heads up this regional. Though the current batch of Huskies was not around for it, Battle Mountain-Kent in the semifinals would certainly evoke nostalgia and/or dread for Huskies fans. During the first three years of Battle Mountain’s program, the Huskies and Sun Devils met in the semifinals with the latter holding a 2-1 edge.
However Kent, which plays Pine Creek, in the first round, does not have an easy road to the World Arena. The No. 5 seed is Ralston Valley, last year’s state runner-up, and a team which seemed to have the early track toward the No. 1 seed.
The Mustangs, however, fell to No. 2 Regis, 3-2, in January and only got one point out of their last two games, a 3-1 loss to Aspen and a 2-2 tie with Kent. Ralston opens with Pueblo.
If things go according to seed here, this should be a monster quarterfinal.
Lewis-Palmer slipped to No. 3 because of late-season losses to Battle Mountain and Palmer, but still got the right to host the regional at Sertich, sort of.
The Rangers are grouped in likely the most difficult region of them all with two other Colorado Springs playoff regulars. As a No. 3, Lewis-Palmer has the unenviable task of taking on Air Academy as a No. 14 seed. Yes, the Kadets are not their usual selves, but that’s just not the team you want to see in Round 1.
No. 6 Cheyenne Mountain takes on Peak to Peak in the other pairing, and we issue our annual warning about the Indians. In the 32 years hockey’s been a CHSAA sport, Cheyenne Mountain has made the Frozen Four.
In some interesting scheduling, No. 7 Aspen, the defending state champion, and No. 10 Steamboat Springs will travel all the way down to the Edge Ice Arena in Denver to play each other. Please commence your head-shaking now.
The winner of this one likely takes on No. 2 Regis. The Raiders, who face Standley Lake Friday, likely lost out on the top seed by virtue of a 2-2 tie in their conference opener with Kent Denver.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, no wagering. We do this merely for the sport of it and to see what kind of e-mails we can generate from around the state.
Battle Mountain goes through, no matter whether it’s Summit or Palmer. The sound you just heard was a bunch of Tigers fans reaching for their keyboards to e-mail me at email@example.com.
Just for tradition’s sake, I’d like to go with Kent Denver. OK, I’ll go with the Sun Devils. Twist my arm. But Kent doesn’t get to World Arena with out a fight from Ralston Valley.
Yes, Lewis-Palmer is the top seed here, but you do not go against Cheyenne Mountain making the Frozen Four. It’s got to be one of most-storied streaks in Colorado sports history.
Aspen ended its streak of starting fast and ending with a thud last year by winning the whole thing. This, unfortunately for the Skiers, is a different year. Regis emerges.