Summit High hockey team heads into state playoffs as No. 4 seed
summit daily news
Summit County, Co Colorado
Two times in the past four years, the Summit High hockey team has had its season ended by the squad from Cheyenne Mountain.
Now, as the two teams face off in the first round of the Colorado State Hockey Tournament, today, SHS head coach Chris Ruhly is hoping that the third time is the charm.
“We’ve had some history with them in the playoffs,” Ruhly said. “Four years ago, we lost in the Frozen Four to them and … two years ago, we lost to them in our arena. … This year we want to go down there and win in their arena.”
Summit enters the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, but has to travel to Colorado Springs to play at Sertich Arena ” Cheyenne Mountain’s home rink. The state tournament sites are predetermined a year in advance, so the Tigers playing a virtual road game was sheer coincidence.
“We’re happy where we sit,” Ruhly said. “We have the number-four seed and we’re excited about that.”
Part of the reason Ruhly and his players are optimistic heading into the postseason is due to the way the team’s performed all year.
The Tigers set a new school record by winning 15 regular-season games this winter. Of the team’s three losses, one was by a narrow margin to top-ranked Regis Jesuit, and Summit has beaten or tied six of the other 15 teams in the playoffs.
This came as a surprise to most skeptics after Summit lost nine seniors off last year’s roster.
“It’s definitely been a good year for us, because no one expected us to do what we’ve done,” Ruhly said. ” … Everyone came in with a team-first attitude, and that’s the difference.”
Senior captain Alex Gutierrez is a large reason for the team’s unselfish nature. Despite being the team’s top offensive threat, Gutierrez only cares about one thing: winning.
“Anything for the team,” Gutierrez said of his mind set. “Taking a hit, blocking a shot, it’s whatever you have to do to win.”
Basically, the Tigers head into the postseason knowing that they are capable of beating any team they face.
“We have the line combinations to play with anyone in the state,”
But, as Ruhly said, everything from the regular season is thrown out, because one loss and the season is over.
“We don’t want the season to end,” Gutierrez said, “and as long as we play our game, we can move on.”
The Tigers’ game today starts at 5 p.m. If Summit moves on, it will play Saturday at 1:15 p.m. at Sertich Arena.
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