One more win, they’re in: Demons hockey goaltenders instrumental in this season’s state championship run
Roaring Fork Valley hockey fans should worship the ice they skate on. Their invaluable efforts are a big reason why Glenwood Springs is one win away from entering the Colorado 4A high school state championship game.
We’re not talking about the dirty danglers. We’re not talking about the blue-line snipers. We’re talking about the bullet stoppers.
Throughout the 2022-23 season, Demons netminders Jeremiah Swenson and Marek Senn have, simply put, remained stingy. Senn, a junior, collected 10 wins and just one loss in the regular season. Swenson, a senior, went 6-3.
Combined, these two goaltenders have allowed just 38 goals on 468 shots on net — and three shutouts — throughout the entire regular season, while the Demons ended the campaign 16-4.
“Personally, throughout my career I think (Swenson) and I are the best two definitely in the Mountain League, maybe even 4A,” Senn said during Wednesday practice in Glenwood. “But we’ve had a really solid year.”
Senn then went on to pick up a win in net during Friday’s 7-2 4A quarterfinal win over Liberty. The No. 1-seeded Demons are now slated to play No. 4 seed Colorado Academy (16-4) at the Colorado Springs Broadmoor World Arena on Saturday.
If Glenwood wins this semifinal, they’re lacing up for the 4A championship Tuesday at Magness Arena — University of Denver’s home ice.
“This is probably going to be the biggest game of my life,” Senn said. “I’m super excited, super nervous. But this is going to be a lot of fun, I already know.”
Glenwood’s season has been anything but normal leading to this point. Aspen’s varsity program decided not play based on a lack of numbers and “Down Valley” ended up getting some downright fantastic talent because of it. Glenwood’s leading scorer right now is in fact Aspen High School senior Ryder Rondeau, who already notched 28 points on 13 goals and 15 assists. Swenson also attends Aspen High School.
Things became even more interesting when Friday’s playoff game was hosted at the Aspen Recreation Center and, as the crowds stomped on the bleachers, everyone rooted for both Aspen and Glenwood kids.
“It was gonna be a little weird sense of rivalry,” Senn said. “But the first couple of practices I think we’ve definitely got our mojo and really connected really well.”
Glenwoods freshman goaltender, Catcher Davis, said this Roaring Fork solidarity helped with the win. More than that, being the younger of the three goalies, Davis said it’s been helpful to see Senn and Swenson play because “it’s been very helpful to my game.”
“I like how fast they can move and I love their glove work,” he said. “It’s definitely something I want to improve on.”
This immediacy of the Aspen and Glenwood camaraderie is what Swensen is going to remember the most. This includes an overnight trip to a game and hanging out in the hotel room with his teammates, he said.
But now that it’s crunch time and Glenwood is one win away from the big cheese, the senior netminder, who almost didn’t play this season because he tore his ACL in 2022, is focused on one thing and one thing only — Saturday.
“It’s just like any other game,” Swenson said. “You want to keep your nerves down and rely on your teammates to do their jobs. Everything will go smoothly from there.
“I’m just ready to play and advance to the next round.”
Glenwood goalie coach Alex Parrish said his players between the posts during any given game have performed terrifically, calling them a “team within a team.”
“No matter who’s in net, no matter who gets the start for a big game, they’re supporting each other,” he said. “They sit next to each other in the locker room, they discuss what the other goalie sees from the bench or from a different vantage point.”
“It’s been a big part of success.”
Parrish said he has put a lot of trust in them going into Saturday’s semifinal against Colorado Academy, a team the Demons beat 3-2 earlier this season. Senn was in net that game, stopping 22 shots.
The stats and wins, however, aren’t the most important aspect Parrish wants his kids to take away this season.
“Just enjoy it,” he said. “Obviously, the success they had looking back on the very first week of practice and where everyone was at, there was a lot of hype. Everyone was so excited, and they’ve worked their tails off all winter long.
“So just enjoy the process and the ride and the journey that they’ve taken to get to where they are at now.”
If Glenwood pulls off a win Saturday, they play the winner of the No. 3 Cheyenne Mountain versus No. 2 Steamboat Springs semifinal game for the 4A state championship. The Demons have both beat and lost to those two teams in the regular season.
Senn said right now the Demons are putting in 110% every practice, every shift and every game. And as to how the goaltenders are going to continue to keep pucks out of the net, Senn — inspired by National Hockey League greats like Patrick Roy and Marc-André Fleury — said, “A magician never tells his tricks.”
“This is the best season I’ve had, ever. It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “These guys are some of my best friends.”
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