SANTA FE, NM - The Coronado T-Birds won the New Mexico high school ice hockey championship Saturday night, 3-2 over defending champs, Albuquerque Cibola.
Cibola scored the first goal just fifteen seconds into the game off T-Bird freshman goaltender Sean Barker. The T-Birds' Josh Baeza tied the score barely a minute later. From there, the game evolved into a defensive showdown, with no more scoring during the remainder of the first period.
Coronado's Jaime Quirarte added a power play goal late in the second period to put the T-Birds up 2-1.
Barker turned in an outstanding performance in goal, with 20 saves, many of them spectacular.
Cibola tied it up at two with just four minutes remaining in the third period. Then, barely a minute later, Coronado's Jake Colclasure found the back of the net with the game-winner. The T-Birds hung on for a 3-2 victory and their first state championship.
With no Texas-based high school hockey teams within 500 miles of El Paso, Coronado plays in the composite division of the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League, for teams that also have players from other schools without hockey teams.
The game was a rematch of last year's final, which Cibola won 6-1. Coronado ended its season with a 23-2 record. The T-Bird's Tom Herman was named coach of the year. Barker was honored as the league's top goalie.