The move to a two-class CHSAA state tournament this past winter season was made in part to provide more opportunities for prep ice hockey players to live their dreams of playing in some of the state's most marveled arenas. It also came with a lot more opportunities to capture highlight reel-worthy plays.
Eight teams participated in the CHSAA Frozen Four at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland last week, resulting in Battle Mountain hoisting the Class 4A crown while Valor Christian won its second consecutive state title, clinching the Class 5A hardware.
While tourney medals and hardware symbolize the many memories for participants, some players stood out by scoring exciting goals on a stage of ice that's usually reserved for members of the Colorado Eagles, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.
We've selected eight of the best goals from the 2021 state tournament and have asked fans to vote which one is the best.
View our winning highlight below along with all the other contenders.
Late in the third period of the Class 4A state title game, Battle Mountain forward Jensen Rawlings was alone while breaking the puck out of the defensive zone in the third period.
A group of three Crested Butte players converged on him entering the zone, forcing Rawlings to make a decision. He flung the puck just before taking a hit in what appeared to be a move of desperation. It paid dividends as the puck went bar down to the back of the Titans net to eventually force overtime.
Chaparral came scorching back after Fort Collins scored the game's opening goal in a Class 5A semifinal.
The Wolverines' Dillon Leonard head-manned the puck and fired a picture-perfect shot off goaltender Sam Simon's leg pad to produce a rebound that Landen Shay buried into the net to tie the game at 1.
The Lambkins went on to win the game 3-2 in triple overtime.
Needing a clutch goal in triple overtime, Fort Collins forward Nolan Williamson fired a shot to the back of the net to clinch the Lambkins a return to the state title game following a 3-2 victory over Chaparral.
Cheyenne Mountain forward Matty Kelleher cycled the puck back to Noah Bonnett, who corralled the puck and fired a shot through the slot that found the back of Crested Butte's net.
Bonnett's goal tied the game at 2-2 before the Titans found a go-ahead goal and an empty-net score to advance to the Class 4A state title game.
Crested Butte's top goal scorer, Jack Lambert, went knocking on the right side of the Indians' zone before pushing the puck to teammate Colm Piccaro, who sent the puck back to Lambert. Lambert liked his second look, zipping a shot through the slot that clinched the Titans a berth into the Class 4A state final.
Raiders junior Robbie Dembeck one-timed a feed from Blake Bridges to put Regis Jesuit ahead of Valor Christian 2-1 midway through a Class 5A Frozen Four semifinal matchup. The Eagles, however, went on to clinch a 3-2 victory over Regis Jesuit in overtime.
The hero of the 2019 CHSAA state championship game, Evan Pahos of Valor Christian, scored a game-winner against Regis Jesuit in a Class 5A semifinal in remarkably similar fashion as his five-overtime game-winner in the state title game a season ago.
Pahos regrouped the puck in the neutral zone, scorched along the boards into the Raiders' zone, made a hard angle cut along the goal line, and buried the puck strong side to end overtime, advancing defending state champion Valor Christian to the state title game.
In overtime against Crested Butte with the state's inaugural Class 4A crown on the line, Battle Mountain's Scott Suhadolink put a shot on net that created a rebound opportunity for Hunter Davis. Davis took a whack at the puck which soared in the air, which Wyatt Horn smacked into the goal.
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