COLORADO SPRINGS – Matty Kelleher isn’t one to waste a lot of time. So it was no surprise when it took all of 32 seconds for the senior defenseman to get Cheyenne Mountain on the board.

Just eight seconds later, Kaden Ochsendorf matched him.

By the time it was all said and done, Kelleher had recorded a hat trick and No. 3 Cheyenne Mountain rolled to a 5-0 win over No. 6 Durango in the Class 4A hockey quarterfinals at Ed Robson Arena. Next up for the Red-Tailed Hawks is a showdown with No. 2 Steamboat Springs in the semifinals. That game will be played down the road at the Broadmoor World Arena.

“It was a good first few minutes of the first period,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Erik Austin said. “It was a weird start and I think we got a couple good bounces early. It was weird and it hadn’t happened before. I think it took some time for the guys to get back into the game after all that happened.”

It was weird enough start that Durango pulled starting goalie Evan Brock after the third goal of the period. With Luka Remec between the pipes, the scoring flood dissipated and the Hawks only scored once for the next period and a half. That was Kelleher’s third goal, completing his playoff hat trick.

(Dan Mohrmann/

But as the Demons settled down, their play cleaned up enough for coach Brian Ensign to jokingly suggest to Austin that maybe the first period shouldn’t count.

“He said ‘If the referees agree to it, do we restart,'” Austin said.

To call it an ideal start to a state title defense for the Red-Tailed Hawks (15-3-1 overall) might be underplaying it. They knew they’d enter the 2022-23 season with a target on their backs, so getting out to a fast leading and flying to a big win was exactly what Austin needed to see from his squad.

The offense maintained possession of the puck for the majority of the game and even when the Demons (8-7-2) were able attack the Cheyenne Mountain net, junior goalie Jeremy Renholm turned away every shot they sent his way.

“I just have to be a backstop [for the team]” Renholm said. “They know their job and I’m there to support them. They support me the same way.”

Facing a four-goal deficit heading into the third period, the Demons knew pressing on offense was a priority. They got their best look at a shot in teh opening minute, but Loudon Doemland fired it wide of the net.

At no point did Renholm appear rattled. He maintained the poise that he carried all through the playoffs last year. That poise is normally reserved for an experienced senior on a roster, but the junior just never seems phased.

“I checked his smile before the game and he had it,” Austin said. “Playoff Jeremy is a whole different beast to quote Noah Bonnett from last year.”

Apparently playoff Matty Kelleher is also a whole different beast. Austin said his problem from a scoring standpoint this season has been that he hasn’t been hitting the next. But he hit the net on Tuesday and apparently the puck has a better chance of going in when that’s the case.

“It was telling the guys that I tied my entire high school scoring record in one game,” Kelleher said. “I might have had less, but we’ll act like it was three so I can say that.”

The Hawks will see a familiar semifinal opponent in Steamboat Springs. It was Cheyenne Mountain getting a 6-0 win last year at Madness Arena before going on to beat Colorado Academy to win the state title.

The Hawks will have the benefit of playing this year’s semifinal at the World Arena, which is just down the road from Cheyenne Mountain High School. Glenwood Springs and Colorado Academy will meet in the other semifinal game.