Southern California inline scholastic season finishes with a golden rush
The scholastic inline hockey season closed in a rush for teams in Orange and San Diego counties during the first weekend in March.
The Anaheim Ducks Inline Scholastic League (ADISL) held its championship playoffs the weekend of March 3-5 at The Rinks-Irvine Inline.
ADISL coordinator John Paerels said the playoffs went well after several weeks of delays.
“As it turned out, the weeks we couldn’t play probably would’ve been rained out anyway,” he said. “There were lots of competitive games.”
Division champions for the league’s fall/winter season included Beckman (Division 1 and Division 3), Woodbridge (Division 2), Edison (Division 4) and Santiago (Division 5).
J.P. Panisa racked up three goals and one assist to lead top-seeded Beckman past second-seeded Santiago, 6-2, to capture the Division 1 championship.
After holding a 1-0 lead after the first period, Beckman took control of the contest by scoring three goals in the second period and adding two more goals in the third period.
Jon Jogiel (one goal, one assist) and Christian Huynh (two assists) each collected two points in the game for Beckman, while Cody Vadenbonceur and Gavin Eacrett each scored single goals for Santiago in the loss.
Max Del Rossi earned the victory between the pipes for Beckman.
The Division 2 championship was decided in a best-of-three series. Top-seeded Woodbridge defeated second-seeded Laguna Hills Combo by scores of 9-6 and 3-1 to capture the series two games to none.
Woodbridge opened the series on March 3 with the three-goal win over Laguna Hills Combo as the teams combined for 15 goals. Kyle Strale topped Woodbridge with seven points (three goals, four assists) and teammate Brent Buckland added four points (three goals, one assist).
Jake Gundlach (two goals, one assist), Zach Esposito (two goals, one assist) and Robert Coulehan (one goal, two assists) paced Laguna Hills with three points each.
In the rematch March 5, Woodbridge rode the momentum of first period goals by Ryu Suzuki and Carson Albin and a third period goal by Buckland to slip past Laguna Hills by a pair of goals to cement the division championship.
Brian Wong drew the assist on Buckland’s insurance tally. Nolan Liston scored the lone goal for Laguna Hills.
In a matchup of goaltenders, Jacob Caballero outdueled Amy Hogan in both games.
In the Division 3 final, top-seeded Beckman edged second-seeded Edison, 3-2, behind two goals from Alex Altman. Beckman overcame an early 1-0 Edison lead on the strength of two goals in the middle period – one each by Cade Libertoski and Altman.
Edison tied the game, 2-2, on a goal by Ryan Grasso before Altman popped in the game-winner later in the third period.
Charley Lowe gave Edison the early lead on a goal in the first period. Dasan Floren, Blake Luevano and Jacob Rozenberg each picked up assists in the setback for Edison.
Danny Tasigeorgos backstopped Beckman to the win in the net.
In the Division 4 championship game, top-seeded Edison skated past fourth-seeded Villa Park, 4-1, as Zach Ahlstrom scored twice in the first period and Alec Vierthaler added an insurance goal in the second period. Edison marched out to a 4-0 lead in the game until Colin McCray scored for Villa Park late in the middle stanza.
Sammy Jagiello contributed a goal and assist for Edison while the victors also received an assist from Ralph Boslaet. Chris Jansky assisted on Villa Park’s lone goal in the game.
Pierce Thibert picked up the win between the pipes for Edison.
Meanwhile, top-seeded Santiago sped past third-seeded Edison, 10-4, in the Division 5 championship game. Santiago ripped the game open with a 5-2 lead after the opening period.
Noah Shoemaker collected four points (one goal, three assists) to lead Santiago while teammates Brandon Baldwin (three goals) and Bryce Lorenz (two goals, one assist) each picked up three points. Brandon Barela (two goals), Brandon Quinty (two goals) and Riley Skvarca (two assists) each made their presence felt on the playing court with two points each.
Sarah Boyd led Edison with two goals while Mason Baskerville and Conner Gromak each scored once.
Josiah Simmons came out on top with the goaltender victory.
Panisa (Division 1), Buckland (Division 2), Albin (Division 2), Altman (Division 3), Jagiello (Division 4) and Lorenz (Division 5) each recorded game-winning goals in the division championship games.
Beckman finished regular season play with a Division 1 best 12-1-0 record while Woodbridge finished on top of the Division 2 regular season standings with a 7-6-1 record.
Beckman entered the playoffs riding a 10-game winning streak.
Beckman’s second team, which finished 10-3-0-1 in the Division 3 regular season standings, entered the playoffs with a five-game winning streak.
Edison topped the Division 4 regular season standings with an 11-3-0 record and entered the playoffs riding the momentum of an eight-game winning streak.
Santiago’s second team, which finished 13-1-0 to lead the Division 5 regular season standings, carried an even more impressive 11-game winning streak into the playoffs.
Lorenz piled up 37 goals and 50 points to top the regular season scoring chart to edge Shoemaker (32 goals, 49 points) by one point.
Jagiello (29 goals, 11 assists) finished third in the scoring table with 40 points. Mater Dei’s Dylan Hadfield (31 goals, eight assists) and El Toro’s Travis Alexander (20 goals, 19 assists) tied for fourth overall with 39 points.
Panisa (28 goals, seven assists) and Mission Viejo’s Ben Wallace (21 goals, 14 assists) tied for sixth overall with 35 points.
Lowe (22 goals, 12 assists), Mission Viejo’s Tucker Abel (18 goals, 12 assists) and Marina’s Evan Stapleton (22 goals, seven assists) rounded out the league’s top 10 scorers.
Simmons posted a 13-0-0 record with two shutouts and a 1.54 goals-against average to top the league’s goaltenders.
Del Rossi and Tasigeorgos each posted 10 wins. Del Rossi finished with a 10-1-0 record, one shutout and a 2.44 GAA, while Tasigeorgos went 10-4-0 with a 4.25 GAA.
Santiago’s Justin Lakin turned in a 9-3-0 record with one shutout and a 4.33 GAA to rank fourth overall on the goaltender leaderboard in terms of number of wins.
The CIF-Metro Conference Kiwanis Cup championship game took place March 6 at the Escondido Sports Center in northern San Diego County.
The game pitted the top-seeded Rancho Bernardo Broncos against the third-seeded Westview Wolverines.
The Wolverines rallied from an initial 2-0 deficit to win, 3-2, in overtime to repeat as conference champions and, in the process, snap Rancho Bernardo’s 12-game winning streak.
Josh Groll scored all three goals for Westview, including the game-winner 4:02 into the five-minute sudden-victory OT period.
The Wolverines (14-6) had lost all three regular season meetings against the Broncos (20-2).
Westview coach Ron Smith called it “an incredible way” to finish the season.
“The kids at Westview continue to amaze us with their composure and focus to finish strong,” he said.
It was the second consecutive overtime playoff win for the Wolverines, who upset second-seeded Cathedral Catholic, 4-3, on an extra-period goal by Laurent Lee.
“To upset and win tight games against disciplined teams like Catholic Cathedral and Rancho Bernardo displayed determination and consistent effort by the entire Westview varsity team,” Smith said. “We respect the skaters, families and coaches over in the RBHS and CCHS programs and appreciate them playing with so much class and dignity.”
The Kiwanis Cup championship was the sixth in school history for the Wolverines, who defeated Cathedral Catholic in last year’s conference championship game.
It was the second conference championship for Smith during his six years behind the bench.
The Wolverines appeared to peak at the right time of the season suffering numerous key injuries during the course of regular season play. Westview finished in the middle of the North County League standings with a 10-6 record. However, the Wolverines were perfect in winning their three playoff games.
“It hasn’t been easy this season,” Smith admitted. “We had five broken arms in our program to make the season very interesting. It gave opportunities for entire team to pick up the slack and support each other. We had at least four games this season where everyone in the lineup scored.”
Westview received two goals from Lee and single goals from senior captain Keisi Takaya and assistant captain Jacob Groll in posting a 4-1 win over sixth-seeded Poway (4-16) in the quarterfinals. Smith credited “solid net keep” by goaltender Grigory Oleynichenko as a contributing factor in the victory against what Smith called a “much improved” Poway team.
Cathedral Catholic was bidding to qualify for its third consecutive championship game appearance in its semifinal match-up against the Wolverines. Josh Groll scored two goals while older brother Jacob scored once to give Westview a 3-2 lead late in the game.
But the Dons’ relentless pressure resulted in a game-tying goal by Charlie Paape with just two seconds to play in regulation to send the game into overtime.
The overtime period lasted just past one minute when Lee sealed the OT victory with what Smith termed “a beautiful snipe off the faceoff.”
Rancho Bernardo, meanwhile, had been bidding for its third Kiwanis Cup championship in the last four years.
The Broncos rolled to a perfect 20-0 season to win their second consecutive conference championship in 2015. Rancho Bernardo previously won back-to-back Kiwanis Cup titles in 2002-03 and 2007-08.
The Broncos had posted the conference’s top regular season record at 18-1 this season and entered this year’s Kiwanis Cup title game with a 20-1 record after eliminating eighth-seeded Otay Ranch by a score of 20-1 in the quarterfinals and fourth-seeded Scripps Ranch by a score of 6-3 in the semifinals.
Bailey Ridout and Brad Larson each scored goals in the championship game loss for the Broncos.
RB head coach Joey Gelsomino said the 2016-17 season had been “a great test” on the team’s student-athletes.
“We’ve played games with our regular roster of eight skaters and a goalie to games with five skaters due to ice hockey commitments,” Gelsomino explained. “The team didn’t have one bad thought about it, no negativity with this group. They all supported each other game in game out. Everyone had a job and pulled their weight evenly.
“This team wasn’t about individual goals; they had one team goal and that was to win the CIF title.”
Ridout, the North County League Co-Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection, helped pace the Broncos this season along with all-league second team goaltender Jakob Ogan.
Cathedral Catholic (16-5) defeated Scripps Ranch (12-8) by a score of 4-2 to win this year’s Kiwanis Cup third-place game that was held prior to the conference championship game at the Escondido Sports Center.
CIF-Metro Conference Player of the Year (and Co-North County League Player of the Year) Drew Jones paced Cathedral Catholic his season. Sam Angeles also earned first team all-league honors for the Dons, who finished runner-up to Rancho Bernardo in the North County League standings.
Angeles, Jones and goaltender Patrick Henson also earned first team berths on the all-conference team.
Scripps Ranch eliminated fifth-seeded Escondido Charter, 12-3, in the quarterfinal round. Cody Sherman (three goals, one assist) and Liam Baird (two goals, two assists) led the Falcons with four points each while Justin Nakagawa (two goals, one assist) and Gauthier (one goal, two assisted) chipped in with three points each.
Scripps Ranch got a 6-2 jump on the White Tigers in the first period.
Stewart Pond, Gauthier and Cody Ayers each scored goals in the semifinal loss to Rancho Bernardo.
This season’s North County League honor roll also included Takaya, who earned first team all-league honors, while Escondido Charter’s Joey Mendoza and Gunnar Gott were second team all-league selections along with Gauthier and Patrick Henry’s Matt Russell.
Takaya (first team), Mendoza (second team) and Gott (second team) were also named to the all-conference squad.
Twelve of the conference’s 16 teams qualified for the Kiwanis Cup playoffs. First-round play faced off Feb. 22.
In an opening round triple-header played at Castle Park High School’s outdoor rink, the seventh-seeded Eastlake Titans defeated the 10th-seeded Hilltop Lancers by a score of 14-1, Otay Ranch edged the ninth-seeded Patrick Henry Patriots by a score of 11-8 and Escondido Charter eliminated the 12th-seeded Castle Park Trojans, 7-1.
In a first-round game played at the Escondido Sports Center, the Poway Titans shut out the 11th-seeded Bonita Vista Barons, 14-0.
Eastlake finished with the top regular season record among Sweetwater Union High School District teams at 16-3, including a 9-0 record in Mesa League play.
Freshman standout Braden Mayer, who collected 64 points (39 goals, 25 assists) during the regular season, led Eastlake in scoring in the playoff game with three goals and four assists while older sister Percilla Mayer collected three goals and two assists.
The Mayer siblings racked up six goals and six assists for 12 points to stamp their name firmly on the game.
Will Hamilton also put his stamp on the game by scoring four goals while Seiya Hagiya collected four points on one goal and three assists.
A total of eight Eastlake players recorded at least one goal or one assist in the game.
Jake Powell, who ranked as the Titans’ second-leading scorer during the regular season with 61 points (30 goals, 31 assists), had three points on one goal and two assists while Karla Navarrete and Sean Layton each scored one goal and Jose Campos picked up one assist.
The Otay Ranch-Patrick Henry game was expected to be close after the teams skated to a 6-6 tie in January’s Pam Wiser Classic tournament. The rematch lived up to its billing.
There were several lead changes in the contest. After the teams opened with a 2-2 standoff, Otay Ranch reeled off five unanswered goals to take a 7-2 lead. Patrick Henry then went on a 5-1 run late in the game to close to within 10-8 on the scoreboard.
The game exploded in intensity from there.
Patrick Henry pulled its goaltender with two minutes to play to put an extra attacker on the floor and Otay Ranch had to endure some nervous moments before Paul Chavez finally put the game out of reach by scoring into the empty net with 1:17 to play.
Patrick Henry team captain Matt Russell had a great opportunity to make it a one-goal game, but Otay Ranch goaltender Ryan Strodtman made a clutch save. The puck bounced the other way and Chavez was able to dump the puck into an empty net to seal the victory for the Mustangs.
Sean Devaney led Otay Ranch with six goals and two assists while Chavez finished the game with three goals and one assist. David Mendez rounded out the scoring for the victorious Mustangs Ranch with two goals and one assist.
Otay Ranch coach John King was complimentary of the Patriots’ strong effort.
“They’re well coached and have a good team,” King explained. “They had more players than we did. I think we started to get tired in the second period. But overall, I was happy with the outcome.”
Patrick Henry head coach Chuck Russell certainly had to happy with the outcome for his first-year team.westviee
“I can’t tell you how excited our players are for the 2017-18 season,” the Patriots coach said.
Matt Russell led Patrick Henry in scoring in the playoff game with six goals and two assists — he had a hand in all eight of his team’s goals.
Chuck Russell, Matt’s father, noted that the majority of his players had never picked up a hockey stick before this season, much less have played in a roller hockey game.
The Patriots (3-19-1 overall) represented themselves well in taking another step forward in the development of their start-up program.
“We had a blast this year and are looking forward to coming back next year with more experience behind us,” the Patrick Henry coach explained. “We’re looking to continue to grow and this was another step in that direction.”
Castle Park (14-8 overall) won this year’s South Bay League title with a 10-2 league record. The Trojans played a strong defensive game to keep the score within striking distance in the playoff game against higher-seeded Escondido Charter.
Simon Gott scored a shorthanded goal to give the White Tigers a 1-0 lead. Joey Mendoza then doubled the lead. Mendoza later scored another goal to put Escondido Charter up 3-0.
The White Tigers slowly extended their lead to 6-0 on goals by Jacob Grove, Gott and Samuel Stewart.
Castle Park’s Martin Mari made the score 6-1 on a goal scored with 6:31 to play in the third period. But Grove scored in the final minute of play, assisted by Mendoza, to pick up his second goal of the game.
Mendoza led Escondido Charter in scoring with two goals and one assist.
Castle Park head coach Jose Mendoza said winning this year’s South Bay League title and qualifying for the Kiwanis Cup playoffs represented a big boost in confidence for his team.
“It was beyond our expectation,” Mendoza said. “I’m very pleased with what we accomplished. To see the development from the beginning of the season was awesome. As much as we’ve grown, there still is room for improvement. The future is bright.”
Devaney, the 2016-17 Mesa League Player of the Year, scored Otay Ranch’s lone goal in its ensuing quarterfinal loss to Rancho Bernardo to finish with 88 points (58 goals, 30 assists) – tops among Sweetwater district teams.
Mayer, younger brother of CIF career scoring leader Aaron Mayer (now playing ice hockey at San Diego State University), tallied Eastlake’s lone goal in an 11-1 quarterfinal loss to Cathedral Catholic to finish his debut varsity season with 72 points (44 goals, 28 assists).
Devaney and Mayer were represented on the All-Mesa League First Team alongside Mendez, Hilltop’s Danny Godinez and Eastlake goaltender Aryn Gregory.
Chula Vista High’s Hector Garcia, who won the regular season individual scoring title by one point over Devaney, earned honors as this year’s South Bay League Player of the Year. Garcia tallied 80 points on 73 goals and seven assists. The 73 goals led all scorers in the Mesa and South Bay leagues by a wide margin.
Mari and Eleazar Cruz, along with Sweetwater’s Phillip Brandon and Chula Vista goaltender Giovanni Cimmino, also were named to the All-South Bay League First Team.
Garcia, Mendez and Cimmino each earned recognition on the all-conference second team while Mendoza earned honors as the conference’s coach of the year.
Bay Area champs
The high school hockey league based at San Jose’s Silver Creek Sportsplex held its winter championships Feb. 17-18.
Division champions included Saints Black (Division 1), Archbishop Mitty Gold (Division 2), Leland Gold (Division 3), Saints Orange (Division 4) and Bellarmine C (Division 5).
Division runners-up included Willow Glen (Division 1), Leigh Gold (Division 2), Sobrato Black (Division 3), Leigh Green (Division 4) and Sobrato Maroon (Division 5).
Mitty Gold, seeded third with a 3-7 regular season record, upset the first- and second-seeded teams to win the Division 2 title.
Anthony Paquet led second-seeded Leland Gold with a hat trick in its 5-4 win over top-seeded Sobrato Black to seal the Division 3 championship.
The annual California State Cup is set to roll March 18-19 at The Rinks-Irvine Inline with nine participating teams from three geographically-based leagues throughout the Golden State. The ADISL, Central Coast High School Hockey League and San Diego/ CIF-Metro Conference are each fielding three teams in the event.
Playoff champions will be crowned in three divisions: Varsity, JV-1 and JV-2.
The five teams in the varsity bracket will each play four games in a round-robin format before being divided into separate playoff fields for Varsity (top two teams) and JV-1 (bottom three teams).
The Marina Viking and Laguna Hills Hawks represent the ADISL in this division while Metropolitan 1 and Escondido Charter represent the Metro Conference. San Luis Obispo is representing the Central Coast High School Hockey League.
Four teams are grouped in the JV-2 division: the Edison Chargers from the event-host ADISL, San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast Chiefs from the Central Coast prep league and Metropolitan 2 from the San Diego CIF league.
Teams will play three round-robin games before advancing to the playoffs based on seeding.
The event is slated to face off March 18 at 4:20 p.m. and will resume play March 19 at 1 p.m.
Irvine Inline is located at 3150 Barranca Parkway in Irvine.
Photos/ADISL & Phillip Brents
— Phillip Brents