~ by Trevor Phipps ~
Woodland Park’s first high school hockey team is having a pretty rough first season on the ice.
But, according to Coach Chad Mason, the team knew that they were getting thrown to the Arctic wolves right off the bat. The team’s first season ever started with matches against four of the toughest hockey teams our icy state can produce. In all other sports WPHS students are considered a 3A school and play against 3A teams.
Well, as if hockey wasn’t tough enough of a sport, an ultra-competitive, 5A hockey league only exists in Colorado. This means that the poor Panthers are literally a 3A team playing nothing but 5A schools. The first four games the Panthers played were against much larger Denver area schools that have a lot more funding for their hockey organization.
And, yes they did get beat in all four of their first games but it was a learning experience for the young team. Earlier in the year Mason said he was confident his team would compete well after they played those four tough schools. The team has now played six games, and even though they have lost all six, improvements in their statistics are evident. The recent losses have not been as brutal as the earlier contests. And in the last two games, the Panthers were able to score two scores per game, instead of one or none like they had in previous matches.
The Panthers’ first match was against the Castle View Sabercats where they lost 9-1. Then, just two days later they played the tough Denver-based Valor Christian Eagles and lost 10 to zip. After that less than a week later the Panthers faced the Crested Butte Titans two nights in a row and lost to them 7-1 and 9-1.
Next, the Panthers had a home conference game against the Coronado Cougars and lost by a score of 7-2. Then a few days later the Panthers faced off against the now 4-2 Rampart Rams and lost 9-2.
The Panthers are now taking a break from the ice for the holidays.
Their last match was December 20, then they slide back onto the ice Wednesday, January 3 at home. The Panthers will be playing their first ever match in Woodland Park. The team is hosting a non-conference match on the Hump Day after New Year’s against the 3-2 Dakota Ridge Eagles at our very own Meadow Wood Sports Complex. Hopefully, the home ice will help give the boys an advantage and they can come up with their first win ever right in their own backyards.