DENVER — Nolan Sargent has stepped up in a big way during the postseason, and now he's a big reason why Regis Jesuit is back in hockey's title game.
Sargent, a junior defenseman, scored two goals and had an assist as the top-seeded and defending champion Raiders beat No. 4 Chaparral 4-0 in the semifinals on Friday night.
Sargent also had a goal and an assist against Cherry Creek in the quarterfinals.
"I knew that we were going to need some offensive power, and I just tried to tuck as many as I could," said Sargent, who now has 16 goals and 12 assists in 22 games this season.
Sargent opened the scoring with 3:55 left to play in the first period, and added to the lead 10 minutes into the second with an end-to-end rush. In the third, he assisted on Drew Renner's snipe from the slot the found the top-left corner.
In three games against Chaparral this season, Sargent has four goals and four assists.
"He's had such a fantastic year, and he's such a great player for us," Regis Jesuit coach Dan Woodley said. "He's motivated to prove he's one of the best players in the state."
Nicholas Schultz added the final goal goal with 2:07 to play.
The Raiders' smothering defense led to a massive advantage in the shots department, with Regis Jesuit out-shooting Chaparral 39-11. It helped goalie Marco Sandoval, a senior, notch his seventh shutout of the season, and second of the playoffs.
"I thought we were pretty solid defensively," Woodley said. "It was really hard to get an extended period of time — other than the first few shifts — in our zone."
This marks the fourth consecutive year in which Regis Jesuit will play in hockey's championship game. The Raiders have won two of the last three.
"It's unbelievable playing for this program," said Regis Jesuit captain Kale Lone. "It never gets old. The past four years have been — definitely — the highlight of my life so far."
Regis Jesuit will face the winner of of the next semifinal between Valor Christian and Dakota Ridge.