Winter Wars West faces off 2019 State Wars season
State Wars Hockey’s 2019 Winter Wars West tournament faced off Feb. 22-24 at The Rinks-Huntington Beach Inline and The Rinks-Irvine Inline with a robust field of 119 teams, including 80 youth squads.
Unseasonably cool temperatures greeted the event, which made it feel like a true late-winter hockey showcase.
“Winter Wars West is always the start of our tournament season and it’s never a disappointment,” noted Greg Thompson, who serves as State Wars Hockey’s national director. “This year’s sold-out event was action-packed from start to finish and we couldn’t have asked for a better event. We even had some teams from New York come out to the tournament.
“Hopefully, we will see a lot of these players at State Wars tryouts this year where they will have the chance to represent their home state.”
As a matter of reference, a total of 116 teams registered to compete in the Winter Wars East tournament held March 15-17 in Philadelphia.
Awards at Winter Wars West were presented in 20 sub-divisions.
Gold medalist teams included the Bulldogs (6U-AA), HB Militia (6U-A, 8U-A, 10U-A and 16U-A), Mission Renegades (8U-AA and 12U-A), AKS 08 (10U-AA), California Kings (12U-AA), AKS 05 (14U-AA), Nor Cal Jokers (14U-A), Sour Skittles (16U-AA), Revo Black 01 (18U-AA), Tour Road Runners (18U-A and Junior Division), Rink Rat Republic (Women’s Division), Pama Labeda Golden Knights (Senior AA and Pama Pro Showcase), Meh (Senior A) and Aztecs HC OG (Senior B).
Silver medalist teams included the Angry Ducks (6U-AA), RC Fire Dogs (6U-A and 8U-A), Labeda Jets (8U-AA and 10U-A), Mission Renegades (10U-AA), Mission Mayhem (12U-AA and 12U-A), Golden Knights (14U-AA and Women’s Division), Road Runners (14U-A), NCR Konixx Elite (16U-AA), Jokers (16U-A and 18U-A), Sour Skittles (18U-AA), HB Groove (Junior Division), Buzz (Senior AA), Pama (Senior A), WC High Rollers (Senior B) and Rink Rat (Pro Showcase).
The Pama Pro Showcase division attracted eight entrants. The Golden Knights and Rink Rat both finished 4-0 in round-robin play while the Tour Mudcats finished 3-1 and the RV Flex finished 2-1-0-1 to secure the other two semifinal berths.
The Golden Knights defeated RV Flex 7-2 in the semifinals and Rink Rat 3-2 in the championship game.
Division MVP K.J. Tiefenwerth of the Golden Knights collected two goals and one assist in the semifinal and tacked on one goal in the championship game to finish with eight goals and three assists in six tournament games.
Tiefenwerth, Junior Cadiz and Tyler Kraft each collected single goals for the Golden Knights in the championship game. Kraft, assisted by Billy Pascalli, snapped a 2-2 tie with the game-winning goal at 7:58 of the second period.
Ryan Perry and Ryan Marker each scored goals for Rink Rat. Marker finished the final with a goal and assist.
Perry and Itan Chavira each netted goals in Rink Rat’s 2-1 semifinal win over the Mudcats, with Perry scoring the game-winner to snap a 1-1 standoff on the scoreboard.
Most Valuable Players were selected in each division.
Campbell Smith earned the MVP award in the 6U-A division after leading HB Militia to the championship by tallying 14 goals in four round-robin games and tacking on five goals in one playoff game.
Bryson Pence earned the MVP award in the 6U-AA division after scoring five goals in the championship game for the Bulldogs, including the game-winning goal.
Drew McDevitt earned the MVP award in the 8U-AA division after netting seven goals and nine points in two playoff games for the division champion Mission Renegades, including a power-play goal, shorthanded goal and game-winning goal.
Kaleb Sanders earned the MVP award in the 10U-A division after leading HB Militia to the division championship with a pair of game-winning goals in the playoffs.
Francois De Villiers earned the MVP award in the 14U-AA division after topping the tournament with 10 assists in round-robin play for team champion AKS 05.
Andrew Canales earned the MVP award in the 14U-A division after leading the Nor Cal Jokers to the team title with five playoff goals.
Bradley Henke earned the MVP award in the 16U-A division after posting two playoff shutouts to lead HB Militia to the team championship.
Other division MVPs included Sierra Hickling (HB Militia, 8U-A), Sage Legaspi (AKS 08, 10U-AA), Brendan Stirbu (California Kings, 12U-AA), Aerick Bacon (Mission Renegades, 12U-A), Braden Mayer (Sour Skittles, 16U-AA), Evan Gengarella (Revo Black 01, 18U-AA), Justin Favalaro (Road Runners, 18U-A), Rob Kowalczyk (Road Runners, Junior Division), Marisa Trevino (Rink Rat Republic, Women’s Division), Trevor Riffey (Golden Knights, Senior AA), Tony Nestca (Meh, Senior A) and Jason Entwistle (Aztecs HC OG, Senior B).
Goaltenders Dennis McGary of the Road Runners (Junior Division) and Tommy Tartaglione of the Golden Knights (Pro Division) each posted perfect 1.000 save percentages during round-robin play.
Additionally, Benton Sherrill (Bulldogs, 6U AA-A), Joey Mataviesko (Sour Skittles, 16U-AA), Jolie Savoy (Labeda Jets, 14U-A) and Tommy Kahle (Mission Mayhem, 12U-A) each posted three shutouts during round-robin play.
Anthony Santos of Senior B division champion Aztecs HC OG led all goaltenders with three playoff wins.
State of mind
Age divisions range from 6U through adult/pro divisions. The majority of the divisions are divided into birth-years to allow players an opportunity to showcase their abilities against their peers.
All teams are guaranteed a five-game minimum.
“We look forward to once again raising the bar and bringing an incredible event to the roller hockey community,” State Wars Hockey president Tim McManus said.
Tryout dates for Team Southern California are scheduled May 4-5 at The Rinks-Huntington Beach Inline.
Team Northern California tryouts were held March 3 at San Jose’s Silver Creek Sportsplex.
McManus announced that Namibia will be a first time international entrant at this summer’s tournament. Thirty-five players from the southwest African nation will comprise seven teams in the 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2005 and girls divisions.
“We are so excited to have this group at State Wars this summer and we know that their fans and families will be loud and proud,” McManus said.
The SD Inline Hockey League had originally scheduled its winter league championship playoffs in February but was unable to complete them until March due to a series of successive rainouts at the Escondido Sports Center.
Semifinals were held March 6 in the High School Division, followed by championship games on March 13.
The Temecula Valley Bears-Gold defeated SD Inline East to win the High School Gold Division championship while SD Inline North defeated the Westview Wolverines to win the High School Silver Division championship.
The Wolverines defeated the Bears, 11-10, in overtime to win the Middle School Division championship while the Black Crows won the Youth Division championship.
An awards banquet took place prior to the finals during which awards for top scorer and top goaltender leaders were presented in each division.
Jake Maurer of the Temecula Valley Bears-Gold finished as the top scorer in the High School Division with 30 goals and 49 points. Maurer averaged 7.0 points per game.
Bears teammate Ryan Boggess posted the division’s top goaltending average of 2.00 and save percentage of .816 while recording seven wins and two shutouts.
The Bears-Gold team finished 7-1 in the regular season standings.
The Wolverines posted a 4-1-1 regular season record to finish as the top team in the Middle School Division standings. Danny Giang of the Wolverines led the division in both goals (21) and points (24) while averaging 4.0 points per game and recording three game-winning goals.
The Wolverines’ Asia Hedden led division goaltenders with four wins and a 5.83 GAA while Bears netminder Ethan Wolf recorded the top save percentage of .514.
The Black Crows finished 7-2-0 in nine regular season games to top the Youth Division standings. Michael Chaikin led the division with 28 goals and 30 points, averaging 3.3 points per game.
Bay Area champs
The high school league operating out of San Jose’s Silver Creek Sportsplex held its winter league championships the first week in March.
Valley Christian won the Division 1 championship while Bellarmine won the Division 2 championship.
Sobrato Black won the Division 3 championship while Live Oak won the Division 4 championship
Valley Christian won Junior High Division 1 championship while Union won the Junior High Division 2 championship.
The Temecula Valley Inline Hockey Association (TVIHA) crowned its scholastic league champions in best-of-three championship series March 14-21.
Temecula Valley High School Gold defeated Great Oaks to win the High School Division championship while the Beast defeated Temecula Middle School Blue to capture the Middle School Division championship.
Kenny Silhan (Beast) earned recognition as the Middle School League’s MVP while Jake Maurer (TV Gold) earned MVP honors in the High School Division.
Photos/State Wars Hockey & SD Inline
— Phillip Brents
(March 25, 2019)