Four different CAHA programs capture Tier II state titles
The California Amateur Hockey Association Tier II state playoffs were held March 17-19 at IcePlex Escondido, north of San Diego, and four different programs – two from Northern California and two from Southern California – went home with state titles.
The Golden State Elite Eagles (pictured above) took home a championship, rolling through the state tournament in convincing fashion. The Eagles eased past the L.A. Jr. Kings 10-1 in their opening game on March 17. On March 18, they toppled OC Hockey 2-0 and in the championship game the following day, they again topped OC Hockey 4-2.
Jarrett Chen scored two goals against the Jr. Kings, while Parker Stone, Elijah Aquilina and Donovan Garcia each added two assists and Carson Murison made 10 saves. Sebastian Larsson and Kellen Ireland each found the back of the net in the first win over OC Hockey, and Murison stopped 20 shots. In the championship game, Murison made 19 saves and the Eagles’ goals came from Alexander Chaple, Mike Carranza, Aquilina and Garcia.
“We have won state title five of the nine years I have coached at 18AA and been to nationals seven times, but winning never gets old,” said Eagles coach Michael Holmes. “This is the best team I have ever coached, and I was actually relieved when we won states this year because this team deserves to go to nationals.”
The Eagles earned a trip to the national tournament in Lansing, Mich., from April 6-10.
The Santa Clara Blackhawks took down two of the state’s largest youth hockey powers to claim a state title. The Blackhawks kicked off the tournament on March 17 with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Jr. Ducks, and followed that the next day with a 4-2 win over the San Jose Jr. Sharks. In the championship game on March 19, they skated to a 6-2 win in a rematch with the Jr. Sharks.
The Blackhawks advanced to the 16U Tier II nationals April 6-10 in Frisco, Tex.
“Winning a state championship is always amazing – it’s something that these boys achieved through hard work, and for the rest of their lives they will always be a state champion,” Blackhawks coach Justin Alonzo said. “This team is very special, being evenly divided between 2000s and 2001s, and we only had one goalie (a 2001), who the boys really worked hard to rally around all season.”
The California Golden Bears skated away with a state championship banner. The Bears earned a 5-1 win over the Blackhawks to start the tournament on March 17. The next day, they went to a shootout for a 3-2 win over the San Jose Jr. Sharks. On March 19, they took home the state title with a 3-1 victory over the Eagles.
The Bears’ state title qualified them for the national tournament in early April in Coral Springs, Fla.
“This team has never won a state title before, and this is the last year the 2002 skaters will be with the Bears, so a state title and a national championship tournament bid is a great way to finish,” Bears coach Peter Torsson said.
At the youngest level of state championship play, the California Wave took home top honors. The Wave skated past the Golden Bears, 5-3, in their opening game on March 17, and toppled the Eagles on March 18.
A 3-1 loss to the Jr. Kings on the morning on March 19 couldn’t keep them out of the championship game, and later that day they earned redemption by beating the Jr. Kings 2-0 to take home the state championship banner.
“This championship was special because this team exemplified hard work, dedication, teamwork and family,” said Wave coach Trevor Wada. “As a coach, I could not have been surrounded by a more special group of families and coaching staff.”
— Greg Ball