~ by Trevor Phipps ~
Woodland Park High School’s first ever hockey team knew they would be in for a challenge this season. This year marks the inaugural season of the hockey team that signed up to play in Colorado’s 5A hockey league for the 2017-2018 season due to the fact that 5A is the only hockey league the state currently offers. The team is from a 3A school that is playing nothing but 5A teams from schools with much larger hockey budgets. If anything the team will use this first season as a learning experience and it will help them better know what is in store for them next year.
Although the team has not yet won a game, they now know exactly what they are in store for in the tough 5A league. The team is currently 0-10 after their first ten games but they have been slowly improving each game. After their loss on the third during their first ever home game here in town they have been kept busy with multiple games per week.
The next day after their first ever game in WP, they went down to the Pueblo Plaza Ice Arena to take on Pueblo County. The team that consists of three Pueblo area high schools easily swept past the Ice Panthers 12 to nothing. The next game they played took place on January 6 and was considered a home game even though it was played at the Honnen Ice Arena. During this match on the ice, Rampart High School stomped the Panthers 7 to 1.
The Panthers then licked their wounds and traveled north to Denver to take on Mullen High School. During the Panthers’ best game yet they kept their opponents to only four goals. This game marks the team’s best defensive performance so far even though they lost the game by 4-1 which is the smallest margin of any game they have lost so far.
Last Saturday the Panthers played another “home” game at the Air Force Academy against Palmer High School. This week the Panthers play on Tuesday January 16 at another home game at the Honnen Ice Arena. They get a chance to rematch the 2-7 Mullen Mustangs in a different arena. The next time after this week the Panthers play on the ice is January 27 when they take on the 7-1 Pueblo County Hornets again, this time at the Air Force Academy or “home.”
The team’s next real home game that they will play at Woodland’s very own Meadow Wood Sports Complex is set for February 2. The team will host the non-conference 5-3 Chaparral Wolverines out of Parker, CO. The hockey season continues into early February, with the boys playing their last game on February 10. Good luck, Panthers Of The Ice!