California Rubber

California’s and Nevada’s Authoritative Voice of Hockey

California products Bowman, Tarantino, Diaz earn weekly USPHL awards


The USPHL has announced its Premier and Elite players of the week, with three California names earning honors.

On the Premier side, Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings forward Ian Bowman (Palm Desert) is the Midwest West Division Forward of the Week and Vernal Oilers goalie Antonio Tarantino (Fremont) is the Northwest Division Goaltender of the Week, while Florida Eeels defenseman JJ Diaz (Ocean Beach) is the Florida Elite Division Defenseman of the Week.

The Riverkings needed a big weekend to snap a three-game skid and solidify their fourth-place status, which converts to home ice in the opening round of the postseason.

Bowman, a 2002 birth year, played a big part in helping the team gain a weekend sweep against the Minnesota Mullets, scoring twice and setting up another four. Among his points was the game-winning goal in a 6-0 shutout the second night and an assist on the game winner the previous night.

Back home, Bowman played for the Desert Blaze, California Wave, and Tahoe Prep, and high school hockey for Palm Springs United.

Another ’02, Tarantino earned his 20th win on Saturday night against the Rogue Valley Royals and his second shutout of the season. He is ranked third in USPHL save percentage (.939) and is also top 15 in goals-against average (2.50) with at least 20 games played.

During his youth hockey days, Tarantino played for the San Jose Jr. Sharks and Golden State Elite Eagles.

Diaz, a 2003 birth year from the San Diego area, put up a goal and an assist over a two-game stretch, and he was also plus-3 for the two games. Diaz is in his second season with the Eels, and has 12 points this season, more than doubling the five he posted last season.

Overall, he has played in 47 Elite games in his career.

In California, Diaz skated for La Jolla Country Day School.

— Joshua Boyd, Jim Den Hollander & Jonathan West/

(February 27, 2023)

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