TAOS, NM - The Coronado T-Bird hockey team took a 6-0 victory over Albuquerque's St. Pius high school, Sunday, to earn a return trip to the New Mexico state championship game.
Freshman goaltender Sean Barker delivered the shutout against a Sartans squad that was clearly weary after playing a pair of overtime games earlier in the tournament, including one Sunday morning.
Barker was named the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League's goalie of the year at an awards banquet Saturday. Coronado coach Tom Herman was named coach of the year after the T-Birds posted a 20-1 regular season record. Coronado is the only team not from New Mexico that fields a team in the league, which offers the only high school hockey within 300 miles of El Paso.
Coronado plays in the NMIIHL's composite division, for teams that include players from other high schools that don't have hockey teams.
Participation is funded by the student-athletes' families.
The T-Birds were beaten 6-1 in the final last year by Albuquerque's Cibola Cougars, who completed a perfect 26-0 season with that victory. The Cougars came in second place in the regular season this year, with an 18-1-2 mark. They earned their return trip to the 2013 finals by beating Coronado 4-3 Saturday night in the double elimination state tournament.
ABC-7 will staff the game and have a report Saturday night on ABC-7 at 10.