Hockey: LA to face Rio Rancho in state final

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By Mike Cote

They ended with identical records and tied one another last weekend.Now, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers and Rio Rancho Rams will meet for the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League championship.The championship game will be held Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center. The puck is scheduled to drop at 2:30 p.m.Los Alamos’ Hilltoppers will be playing for their first state championship cup since 2001 and head coach Craig Wehner said the team is primed for a title.“It was a very successful season,” Wehner said. “The kids delivered…they really performed well and they have a lot going for them.”Los Alamos and Rio Rancho met at the Year End Tournament, played last weekend in Taos, and ended up deadlocked, 3-3.Wehner said there was very little on the line in that final game of the tournament. Both teams had qualified for the state title game prior to the tournament finale and about the only thing that game settled was who was going to wear what color jersey Saturday.Los Alamos (17-6-1) won its other two contests in the Year End Tournament, topping Taos 4-1 and La Cueva 3-0 before the deadlock with Rio Rancho.The Hilltoppers and the Rams had met four times this winter prior to Sunday’s game, twice in the regular season and twice in showcase games.In those, the Hilltoppers have won three and tied the other.

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