COLORADO SPRINGS — This must be sweet for Valor Christian High School’s hockey team.

Not just advancing to the Class 5A state title game for the No. 1 seeded Eagles, but notching another one-goal victory against No. 4 Regis Jesuit.

Valor Christian defeated Regis Jesuit 3-2 at the Broadmoor World Arena on March 4, which marked the Eagles’ third victory against the Raiders this year.

Also the Eagles’ third one-score win over the Raiders.

Valor previously beat Regis Jesuit 5-4 on Feb. 3 and a week later 4-3 on Feb. 10.

The back-to-back losses were Regis Jesuit’s first since Feb. 8 – 13, 2020. That also marked the first consecutive defeats in one-goal games since Dec. 13, 2019 – Jan. 3, 2020, for the Raiders.

“The more you play in these one-goal games the better off you are,” said Valor Christian coach George Gwozdecky. “Playing in the Metro Conference this year toughened us up. The Frozen 4 is made up of four of the teams from our conference. Battling in those games has helped us.”

Valor Christian opened the semifinals with a goal by Alec Alfieri 87 seconds into the contest to make it 1-0.

Then, nearly 23 minutes passed between the Eagles’ next goal when Jeremy Muhr scored with 11:25 on the clock in the second to make it 2-0.

Regis Jesuit found its touch with a pair of goals midway through the second period.

First, Jake Filler found the net for the Raiders with 7:41 left in the second to cut Valor’s lead to 2-1.

Three minutes later, Parker Brinner fired a rocket past a flock of Eagles and their keeper to knot the game at 2-all with 4:35 remaining in the period.

Regis’ sigh of relief was short lived as 90 seconds later, Aiden Owen struck to reclaim the lead at 3-2 for Valor with 3:05 left in the second.

Gwozdecky hoped for a security goal in the third period, especially, he said, “after Regis stormed back,” in the second, but he’s grateful to advance to the final game.

“Today’s game certainly wasn’t a Picasso or a Di Vinci,” Gwozdecky said. “It was, at times sloppy, but I thought, that’s more typical than not when these two schools get together. … I liked the way we handled that adversity after [Regis Jesuit] battled back.”

Valor Christian will play the winner of the second semifinal match between Denver East and Ralston Valley.

The two Frozen Four winners will battle March 7 at University of Denver’s Magness Arena.

Both teams in the other half of the Frozen Four handed the Eagles their previous losses. Denver East, the defending state champs, did so in the 2022 title game.

Ralston Valley is the one in 19-1 for Valor Christian and defeated the Eagles in the season opener.

Gwozdecky said no matter the winner, Valor recognizes it has a tough game in the finals.

“We know and respect both teams like crazy,” Gwozdecky said. “We’re excited to be back in that game no matter who we face.”

(3) Ralston Valley 3, (2) Denver East 2 (3OT)

(Marcus Hill)

Blaine Keller just hit the biggest shot of his career.

The Ralston Valley senior scored a goal with 2:49 left in triple overtime off a ricochet to help the No. 3 seed Mustangs defeat No. 2 Denver East 3-2 on March 4 at the Broadmoor World Arena.

The victory extended the Mustangs’ win streak to seven and placed Ralston Valley in the title game for the first time since 2018.

After Cole Francque’s second goal of the night gave the Mustangs a 2-1 lead with 9:44 left in the second period, Ralston Valley hit a dry spell.

That allowed Denver East to score 24 seconds into the third period and tie the game at 2-2.

Neither squad established their attack in the first two overtimes, forcing another 8-minute period.

After six minutes drifted off the clock, both teams looked primed for a fourth OT.

But Keller rebounded the puck after a shot on goal from his teammate and slapped the puck into the net to give the Mustangs the win.

Ralston Valley earned their first OT win of the season and avenged a pair of losses earlier this year to the Angels.

The Mustangs head to the title game to face Valor Christian at University of Denver’s Magness Arena on March 7.

Ralston Valley is the only team to beat Valor Christian this year. The Mustangs beat the Eagles 4-3 on Dec. 3, 2022.