NCRHA honors plenty of WCRHL standouts
The Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) turned in a highly productive showing at the 2014-15 National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) National Championships in Independence, Mo.
Though no WCRHL team skated home with a coveted national championship trophy, four teams did advance to the Final Four in their respective divisions.
All eyes will be on those teams when the 2015-16 WCRHL season faces off on Oct. 24-25 at San Jose’s Silver Creek Sportsplex for the league’s annual kick-off event. All teams in every division will participate.
The NCRHA had a chance to recognize its top players from 2014-15 over the summer with the announcement of its All-Tournament Team selections. Student-athletes from the WCRHL were prominently mentioned on the three-division honor roll.
“The NCRHA is proud to award these outstanding players with the honor of All-Tournament Team recognition,” said NCRHA executive director Brennan Edwards, who also serves as WCRHL director. “We’ve seen several players add the honors to their online player profile, which often is a virtual resume of hockey experience.”
Final Four teams included the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Division I, and UC San Diego and UC Irvine in Division II.
“These WCRHL teams, as well as several others, made it that far not only because of great teamwork, but also the talent of those players named to the All-Tournament Team,” Edwards said.
Three players each from UNLV and Arizona State University, along with two players from WCRHL regional champion Cal Poly, earned selections to the NCRHA Division I All-Tournament Team.
UNLV forward Austin Shannon was named to the Division I Second Team, while Rollin Rebels goaltender Terry Martin and UNLV forward Cody Williams each received Honorable Mention recognition.
Shannon, from Cypress, led UNLV with 13 goals and 27 points in 10 playoff games.
ASU’s three Honorable Mention selections included forwards Ryan Doyle and Tyler Koressel and defenseman Ryan Cotton.
Doyle, from Huntington Beach, led the quarterfinalist Sun Devils with 15 goals and 27 points in 11 playoff games. He also paced ASU in regular-season scoring with 20 goals and 43 points.
Cal Poly’s Honorable Mention selections included forwards Chris Kumata and Ryan Newens.
Kumata, who led the Mustangs in regular-season scoring with 65 points (32 goals) in 20 games, called it “a huge honor” to have been selected for the NCRHA All-Tournament Team.
“I have my team to thank for it,” he said. “None of us can do it on our own, and it’s all because of the talented teammates we have playing alongside us. It’s great to see all the WCRHL players honored, and it shows all the talent the west has to offer.”
Newens paced Cal Poly with 24 points in 11 playoff games. He finished a tick behind Kumata in regular-season team scoring with 63 points (28 goals).
Cal Poly finished atop the WCRHL regular-season standings with a 13-3 record, followed closely by UNLV (12-3).
Division II All-Tournament Team selections included players from semifinalists UC Irvine and UC San Diego; quarterfinalist UC Santa Cruz; and fellow playoff qualifiers Chico State and the University of Arizona.
UC Irvine’s Scott Rottman and UC San Diego’s Kevin Zhang both earned accolades as Division II First Team selections, while UC Santa Cruz’s Jake Hennings was named to the division’s Second Team.
Honorable Mention selections included Chico State’s Cole Euell, UC Santa Cruz’s Kyle Karazissis, UC Irvine’s Devon Tallcott and Arizona’s Brandon Conrad and Jesse Rooney.
Zhang, from Sunnyvale, racked up 82 points (35 goals) in 24 regular-season and playoff games, while Rottman, from Gilroy, collected 76 points (45 goals) in 22 games. Karazissis, from Calabasas, recorded 92 points (62 goals) in 26 games.
UCSD finished 15-1 in regular-season play, nipping UCI (13-2-1) and Chico State (12-4), but UCI won the regional championship title.
Arizona had two players recognized on the Division III All-Tournament Team: forward David Sticker (First Team) and goaltender Brett Bushnell (Honorable Mention).
Sticker, from Mission Viejo, led the Wildcats in season scoring with 31 goals and 59 points.
Two players with California roots from Division III national champion Lindenwood University – Jake Escarcega (Escondido) and Spenser Marquiss (San Jose) – also earned NCRHA Honorable Mention recognition.
Escarcega led the Lions in playoff scoring with 14 points in eight games, while Marquiss tied for regular-season top scorer honors on the team with 36 points, including a team-leading 24 goals, in 23 games.
The 2015-16 WCRHL season continues with an inter-regional event on Nov. 7-8 at Las Vegas Roller Hockey Center, plus regular-season events on Nov. 21-22 at The Rinks-Huntington Beach Inline; Jan. 9-10 at the UCSB Rec Center II in Santa Barbara; Jan. 23-24 at Barney Family Sports Complex in Queen Creek, Ariz.; and Feb. 20-21 at Huntington Beach Inline.
The WCRHL regional championship tournament is scheduled for March 5-6 at The Rinks-Corona Inline.
– Phillip Brents