Golden boys lacrosse impressive in playoff opening win versus Northfield

ARVADA — Golden reminded the rest of the Class 4A boys lacrosse state tournament field on Tuesday night that the Demons are still the defending state champions.

No. 5-seeded Golden dominated No. 12 Northfield 13-1 in the first playoff game for the Demons since claiming the Class 4A boys lacrosse state title 757 days ago.

Golden senior Chance MacCagnon strolls past the goal after scoring in the first quarter for the Demons on Tuesday night at the NAAC. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“It seems like ages ago. Last playoff game I was a sophomore,” Golden senior Ben Kirschner said. “Now I’m a senior and a captain on the team.”

The Demons pulled off one of the most dramatic come-from-behind victories in history of the state boys lacrosse tournament back on May 20, 2019 at All-City Stadium in Denver. Golden trailed Cheyenne Mountain 7-2 late in the second quarter, but the Demons rallied for an eventual 10-9 overtime victory.

Golden looked primed for a run at a repeat in 2020, but COVID cancelled the spring season a year ago, preventing the Demons’ chance to win back-to-back state titles.

“It’s been a long strange journey as they say,” Golden coach Mike Thumim said.

Golden looked to be on a mission to get back to that title game again Tuesday night at the NAAC. The Demons jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead four and a half minutes in the first quarter. Seniors Chance MacCagnon and Kirschner both found the back of the net and sophomore Chase Marini added an early goal.

The Demons kept it going in the second quarter. Golden sophomore Locky Rogers scored three straight goals over the span of 5 minutes to open out an 8-0 lead for the Demons.

“It was really nice to see Locky Rogers to breakout today and get that hat-trick,” Thumim said. “I assume Erie was here and that gives them something else to think about.”

Golden sophomore Chase Marini (12) attempts to get off a shot before Northfield junior Connor Smithburger (23) closes in. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

No. 4 Erie received a first-round bye in the 12-team state tournament. Erie hosts Golden at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Tiger Stadium. The Demons and Tigers actually met up in the state quarterfinals two years ago with Golden pulling off a 5-4 victory.

“We are getting everyone’s best shot,” Thumim said. “Erie is not going to overlook us like they did in 2019. I’m going to be working my butt off tomorrow to get our boys ready to go.”

The veteran leadership for Golden is also doing its part to get the younger Demons ready for the state quarterfinal game Thursday.

“We tried to outline the importance of this game,” Kirschner said of what was told to the young Demons who weren’t even in high school two years ago. “We wanted to focus on this game and know get them mentally focused for Erie on Thursday.”

Northfield sophomore Asher Poppleton ended the shutout bid by the Demons with a goal at the 7:29 mark in the third quarter. Golden senior goalie Kyle desGarennes was attempting to get is first shutout win in net this season.

“Kyle saves us all the time,” Kirschner said. “To allow just one goal through the whole game today is great. He is going to come up big for us in the playoffs.”

The 4A state semifinals are scheduled to be played Saturday, June 19, at Englewood High School. The title game will be Tuesday, June 22, back at Englewood High School.

Golden junior Louie Ficco, left, delivers a hit on Northfield junior Eli Rosenberg during the first half Tuesday night at the NAAC. The Demons dominated the Nighthawks 13-1 in the first-round Class 4A playoff game. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)