Cibola, Taos reign supreme as New Mexico high school champions
Two New Mexico high school state champions were crowned over the March 10-11 weekend with Cibola winning its second straight league championship and Taos capturing the Pure championship.
For Cibola (pictured), Tanner Colyer, Ricky Haverland and Kyle Usiak scored for the Cougars and Grace Hausenfleck and Max Hoffman combined on a 22-save shutout in a 3-0 win over Durango March 11 at the McDermott Athletic Center in Rio Rancho.
“I have been coaching high school hockey for several years and every season is different,” Cibola coach Brett Lovette said. “We were the defending state champs and with that title comes added pressure because everyone wants to beat you, which means you have to step up your game and reach a new level of play. As a coaching staff, we had to help our team mentally prepare for that challenge, a challenge this team accepted and met.”
Robby Grogan took the loss in goal for the Devils, but did turn aside 27 shots.
In the Pure championship game March 10 at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center in Santa Fe, Taos defeated Los Alamos 4-3 as the Ice Tigers erased a 3-1 deficit with three goals in the third period.
Ysidro Gravelle notched two goals for Taos, while Max Mount made 26 saves in goal.
“Los Alamos has a great program and won the Pure title the past two years, so a win against them in the championship game represented a huge victory for our community,” Taos coach Mark Richert said. “I’ve coached many of the high school players since they were Mites and a championship is the perfect sendoff for our graduating seniors.
“At 7000 feet in the Southern Rockies, the kids are out there practicing at 10-below zero some mornings. Regardless of winning the championship, I think finding enough kids in a small town who love showing up regularly under those conditions is a big win for the sport of hockey.”
For the Hilltoppers, Sam Fisher fashioned a 43-save performance in net in suffering the defeat and Ben Rees potted a pair of goals for Los Alamos.
— Matt Mackinder