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Cheyenne Mountain glad to be back in hockey playoffs

By: BRENT W. NEW preps@gazette.com
February 16, 2014 Updated: February 16, 2014 at 8:00 pm
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When Cheyenne Mountain hockey coach Erik Austin thinks about family memories, he thinks about the Indians hockey program.

He thinks of his dad Jim winning three state titles as the Cheyenne Mountain hockey coach in the mid-1980s, and remembers his own playing days where he won a state title as a senior in 1996.

Recently though, the 14-time state-winning hockey program has been down. In Austin's first two years at the helm of the program, the Indians missed the playoffs for the first time in school history in 2012 and repeated that fate in 2013.

"That was a tough way to start out coaching here," said Austin, who took over for Mike Provenzano. "We had some struggles with depth and inexperience there . we had some of that this season too."

At least the results were better though. Cheyenne Mountain (8-11 overall, 7-7 Peak Conference) finished seventh in its conference and landed opposite of Monarch (16-1-2 overall, 12-1-1 Foothills Conference) in its first playoff action since 2011.

It's been a step in the right direction for everyone involved.

"This was our goal from the beginning of the season," fourth-year senior defenseman Bricyn Ward said. "I think it is a really good start to get us back to where we want to be. It shows we have gotten through that tough transition period and we are on our way to better things."

The Indians, however, know they'll have to play their best game in three years if they want to extend this season. The Coyotes have nearly double the amount of goals Cheyenne Mountain does (119 compared to 61), and haven't lost in their past 11 games.

The Indians, meanwhile, will hope to change the tide and find momentum despite their four-game losing streak.

"It'll be tough, but if we go in there with the right attitude and play at the best of our abilities, I think we have a shot," Ward said.

Puck drops at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Boulder Valley Ice.

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