Sabers find positives during 2021-22 USPHL season, excited for future in San Diego
As the USPHL’s Pacific Division exploded with talent and high-end competitiveness during the just-concluded 2021-22 season, the San Diego Sabers experienced some of that growth as the league continues to evolve into a top option for players all over the world to develop and round out their game.
This season, the Sabers finished the regular season with 17 wins, narrowly missing the playoffs.
That being said, San Diego GM Domenick DiCicco said it was an upbeat environment all season long.
“Lots of positives, lots of momentum for next season,” said DiCicco. “The organization took a big step this year both in wins and losses and overall as a program with our players’ experience. We are looking to continue growing and building for next season.”
Adam Wedberg led the Sabers in scoring with 29 goals and 55 points, while Ludvig Nilsson and Elias Lindstrom each popped 19 goals. Hampus Knutsson added 21 points from the back end.
All four players came to the Sabers this season from their native Sweden.
“There were several players that stood out the most to me throughout this season,” DiCicco said. “Ludvig Nilsson and all of our Swedish players really stood out as difference makers, both on and off the ice. Joe Chappelle, who is a local kid from Escondido, was a surprise. He’s the ultimate hard worker and a kid who plays junior hockey the right way.”
In goal, another Swede, Filip Plars, emerged as the No. 1 netminder, winning 11 games for the Sabers.
This season now in the rearview mirror, DiCicco said it’s time to look forward to next fall.
“The USPHL has been great to us,” said DiCicco. “I was not a part of the Sabers when they were in their former league, so I cannot really speak to the experience with the team there, but with the USPHL, our players are constantly getting looks form higher levels, whether it be Tier II or college. The league does a great job with their showcases, one of which we attended in Boston and was a great experience for the players.
“Obviously, it is very early to speak on next season, but I anticipate us being better both on and off the ice. We are expecting big things from our guys for next season.”
Top photo/Mark Mauno; above photo/Christine Franey
— Matt Mackinder
(April 3, 2022)