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We meet again …

Daily file photo/Preston Utley Casey Kleisinger (7) and Battle Mountain face Peak to Peak in the state semifinals Friday at 7 p.m. at the World Arena in Colorado Springs.
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About 95 percent of the time, the concept of postseason play sends coaches to the Internet searching for any dribble of information on their previously unknown opponent.What exactly are the strengths and weaknesses of Upper Lower Northern Southern High School? Then come the phone calls to other coaches. “Well, uh, we played Western Northern Middle High School in a scrimmage three years ago,” the coach says.There will be no need for Huskies hockey to do heavy duty research for this weekend’s Frozen Four in Colorado Springs. This is old home week for Battle Mountain.The Huskies have played Friday’s semifinal opponent, Peak to Peak, in each of the last two years. Cheyenne Mountain and Battle Mountain have met three times in the last 14 months or so, including in last year’s semis.Then there’s Summit, the Huskies’ Shrine Pass rival. The two have met nine times since 2001. Not much need to do homework here.”It’s good for us. Rampart (in last weekend’s quarterfinals) was the big question mark,” Huskies coach Gary Defina said. “We had never seen them. We got to scout them at least the night before. But not having played them, you don’t know how they’re going to respond to you and how the teams are going to match up. We know how we match up against these teams.”A look at the other three teams in the Frozen Four:

No. 7 Peak to PeakRecord: 15-6; 8-4 MountainVs. Huskies this year: Loss, 4-2 at Peak to Peak.All-time: Huskies lead series, 2-0.Postseason vs. Huskies: First meetingFrozen Fours: FirstIn their second year, the Pumas are making their first Frozen Four appearance. This team has been tough to read. Last year, Peak to Peak sent its best players to club tournaments on Martin Luther King weekend, when the Huskies routed the Pumas at Dobson, and then sent their best during the 2005 playoffs to a Presidents Day tourney.With CHSAA’s “club rule, the Pumas have had a much stronger second season, beating No. 2 Pueblo in OT to make it to World Arena. Look out for Joshua Wrede (26 goals, 21 assists, 47 points) and Ryan Meyer (23-19-42).Defina’s take: “They’re sort of an extension of Hyland Hills youth hockey. They like to play dump and run, dump-and-chase-kind of hockey. Technically, they try to pressure you like crazy. They have two really good forwards. They’re both studs. We kept them under control that first game. We’re obviously going to have to do the same.”

No. 1 Cheyenne MountainRecord: 20-0-1; 11-0-1 MountainVs. Huskies this year: Win, 4-1, at Dobson.All-time: Huskies lead, 3-2.Postseason vs. Huskies: 1-1, Battle Mountain 5, Cheyenne Mountain 1, 2005 semifinals; Cheyenne Mountain 3, Battle Mountain 2, 2OT, 2002 finals.Frozen Fours: 31stIt just wouldn’t be the Frozen Four without the Indians – 31 seasons of CHSAA hockey and 31 appearances. Cheyenne is the 800-pound gorilla this year. The Indians smacked Peak to Peak twice and handed Battle Mountain its first loss on home ice. Of course, the Huskies were without Casey Kleisinger and Kyle Woods at the time. The Indians will have to look out for them.Then again, The Huskies must contain Alex Lofthus (28-25-63) who dropped a hat trick in the team’s first meeting this year.Defina’s take: “We put Casey and Kyle in the lineup, that’s our big adjustment. That changes the look of our team completely. We have the advantage there in that they haven’t seen us with those two in the lineup. Our team has a whole different look with Casey and Kyle in the lineup.”



No. 13 SummitRecord: 9-12; 4-8 MetroVs. Huskies this year: Loss, 5-4 (OT), at Aspen; Loss, 6-3, at Dobson.All time: Huskies lead, 9-0.Postseason vs. Huskies: Never met.Frozen Fours: FirstLadies and gentlemen, the Cinderella story, about to win The Master’s championship, er, make its first Frozen Four appearance. Conventional wisdom is that Cheyenne should have the Tigers for lunch, but Summit has paid very little attention to what other people have been saying. The Tigers lost a lot of close games in the regular season, and seem to be making up for it with upsets of No. 4 Air Academy and No. 5 Machebeuf in the playoffs.Defina’s take: “If they can beat Cheyenne, then we’d better be ready. I think they could. We talked about it in the locker room (Monday) and the kids laughed. I said, ‘What would you have said if I had told you they could beat Air Academy?’ They all would have laughed. If they beat those two teams, they could beat Cheyenne.” Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14630 or cfreud@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado


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