It was truly a rare season on the ice for Aurora, as it was the first time in 15 years that neither the Regis Jesuit or Cherry Creek co-op program appeared in the Frozen Four.
The Raiders — who had been to the semifinals in every season dating back to 2008 — got upended in the Class 5A state quarterfinals by Fort Collins and the Bruins came up short in an epic play-in game against Chaparral, leaving the championship to be decided without a local team for the first time in a long time.
Still, there was plenty of talent in skates between the programs, which appears on the 2021-22 Sentinel Colorado All-Aurora Ice Hockey Team — as selected by the Sentinel in conjunction with balloting of Aurora coaches — as a healthy mix of players from both teams.
It was a remarkable season in many ways for Regis Jesuit, which got off to an undefeated start before winter break, which included earning career win No. 300 for head coach Dan Woodley and original assistant coach Terry Ott (story, here).
The Raiders would lose only two games on the entire season, including a contest to eventual state champion Denver East — which they defeated in their season opener — while the second one ended their season as they fell 4-1 to an outstanding Fort Collins team in a quarterfinal playoff game played at Magness Arena.
The Raiders were adept at scoring as usual and the top line was potent, with seniors Sean Holloway and Robbie Dembeck leading the way.
Holloway (Regis Jesuit’s lone selection to the Colorado High School Activities Association’s All-State first team) had the only goal in the quarterfinal loss and finished with 13 on the season as one three players with double-digit goals, while he also registered an Aurora and team-high 20 assists on his way to All-5A Metro League first team recognition.
Dembeck — an all-conference second team pick — fell just short of the double-digit group as he accounted for eight goals while also registering 17 assists.
The Raiders were also stout defensively and that had a lot to do with the play in goal of senior Gage Bussey, who was outstanding and unfortunately missed the quarterfinal playoff game due to injury. Bussey — the Metro Conference’s second team goaltender — finished 8-1-2 with a 2.20 Goals Against Average and a .917 save percentage, with a pair of shutouts in the regular season.
On the back line, senior Blake Bridges was an important piece for Regis Jesuit and also was able to go forward offensively when needed. He racked up 10 assists and also scored a goal.
Coach Jeff Mielnicki’s Cherry Creek co-op team — a mix of players from schools across the Cherry Creek Schools — shook off a slow start to finish hot and qualify for a playoff game, which the Bruins lost after four overtimes to Chaparral with a spot in the 5A quarterfinals on the line.
One of the fastest skaters in the state played on the backline for Cherry Creek in the form of senior defenseman Addy Powell (a Grandview student), who was outstanding with the puck on his stick and also directed the team in many ways as he was recognized as a second team All-State selection by CHSAA coaches.
Powell led the team with 19 assists, while the All-Metro Conference first team performer also scored eight goals and led the Bruins in total points with 27.
The Bruins also had an offensive force in senior Dalton Berkey, who created several dangerous chances to end the playoff game in overtime, but came up just short.
Berkey finished just shy of double digits for the season in goals, while he registered 17 assists to finish second on the team behind Powell.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2021-22 SENTINEL COLORADO ALL-AURORA ICE HOCKEY TEAM
Forward: Dalton Berkey, sr., Cherry Creek; Robbie Dembeck, sr., Regis Jesuit; Sean Holloway, sr., Regis Jesuit
Defense: Blake Bridges, sr., Regis Jesuit; Benjamin “Addy” Powell, sr., Cherry Creek
Goaltender: Gage Bussey, sr., Regis Jesuit
Forward: Harrison Follett, sr., Cherry Creek; Andrew Gleason, sr., Regis Jesuit; Jacob Zinno, sr., Regis Jesuit
Defense: Ben Romero, sr., Regis Jesuit; Brenden Wolff, sr., Cherry Creek
Goaltender: Walker McEntire, sr., Cherry Creek (Smoky Hill)
HONORABLE MENTION: Luke Brennan, sr., Cherry Creek (Eaglecrest) (F); Eric Burgraff, soph., Cherry Creek (Grandview) (F); Drew Capra, soph., Cherry Creek (Eaglecrest) (F); Mark Hambrick, jr., Cherry Creek (Cherokee Trail) (D); Carder Lutz, sr., Regis Jesuit (F); Billy O’Grady, soph., Cherry Creek (Grandview) (D); Carter Schick, jr., Regis Jesuit (F); Ayden Schmidt, jr., Cherry Creek (Cherokee Trail) (F); Logan Zlot, sr., Regis Jesuit (G)