Tight division races developing across WCRHL
The Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) concluded its first semester of play with its biggest event of the 2015-16 season, which was held on Nov. 21-22 at The Rinks-Huntington Beach Inline.
Twenty-two teams in five divisions participated, including four that competed in their first event.
After the conclusion of two full regular-season events, plus two double-header game sets and two inter-regional tournaments, all WCRHL teams had began the new campaign. Teams had played anywhere from four to 11 games.
In Division I, Arizona State University led the field of five teams with a 9-1-1 record and 19 points, followed by UNLV (6-1 record, 12 points), UC Santa Barbara (4-7-0, eight), Long Beach State (2-5-1, five) and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (2-5-0, four).
UNLV got the early edge in the standings after finishing undefeated at the season-opening kickoff event, which was played on Oct. 24-25 in San Jose, while ASU went undefeated at the Las Vegas inter-regional event on Nov. 7 (including an overtime win over Colorado-Colorado Springs).
UNLV was not scheduled for the HB Inline event, while Cal Poly SLO participated in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Roller Hockey Association inter-regional event on Nov. 21 in Colorado Springs.
With the absence of UNLV and Cal Poly SLO at the HB Inline event, UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State and ASU all played each other, with cross-division games also scheduled against West Valley College, which got off to a 3-1 start at the San Jose event.
WCRHL director Brennan Edwards suggested the race for the Division I title is far from over.
“ASU is a solid team, jostling with UNLV for that No. 1 spot,” Edwards noted. “With UNLV sitting idle, ASU has taken the lead, but not without some tough competition from UCSB and Long Beach State.
“ASU went 3-0-1 on the weekend, picking up points in every game played, but three out of the four were one-goal games.”
ASU’s Ryan Doyle led Division I scorers with 18 goals and 31 points at the semester break, while UC Santa Barbara’s Kyle Mooney had four game-winning markers. UNLV’s Terry Martin was the first-half goaltender leader with a 3.38 goals-against average and a .859 save percentage.
In Division II, Fullerton State (8-1, 16 points), Chico State (7-0-1, 15) and UC San Diego (5-2-2, 12) are all off to impressive starts to their seasons.
UC San Diego’s Dylan Shives led the division with 23 points, while Shives shared top goal-scoring honors with Fullerton’s Kiefer Lupascu (both with 15) and Irvine’s Andy Trinh led with 12 assists. Arizona’s Brett Bushnell led Division II goaltenders with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.
The University of Arizona’s Division II and III teams, as well as Cal Poly Pomona (Division II) and Claremont College (Division IV), all played their first games of the season at the HB Inline event.
Arizona went 6-0 in Division II and 4-2 in Division III, while Claremont went 3-1 and Pomona 2-2 in their season debuts.
The WCRHL will begin its second semester of play on Jan. 9 at UC Santa Barbara.
– Phillip Brents