Dozen teams bring home championship banners from Inland Empire Tournament Series’ 2023 MLK Challenge
The Inland Empire Tournament Series, created and hosted by the Jr. Reign, continued its 2022-23 season Jan. 13-16 with the MLK Challenge at Icetown Carlsbad, Icetown Riverside, Ontario Center Ice, and Toyota Arena.
A total of 12 teams brought home championship banners at the conclusion of the thrilling weekend that featured 48 teams from Southern California, Northern California, Las Vegas and Arizona.
Champion: Empire Hockey Club 18U AA
Runner-up: DYHA Jr. Sun Devils 16U Elite
Ryan Howard‘s two goals paced Empire’s offense in a 6-1 win over the Jr. Sun Devils to bring home the championship banner. Michael Fogg-Martinez, Jared Padilla, Satoro Etu, and Alexander Tatoian added goals, Preston Luk and Joshua Roman had two assists each, and Luka Strasser picked up the win in goal. Michael Gruntler scored DYHA’s goal and Nooa Riecks and Keegan Tinsdale shared time in the blue paint for the Jr. Sun Devils.
Champion: Jr. Reign 16U AA
Runner-up: Carlsbad Cosmos
Luke Tanner led the way for the Jr. Reign with two goals and an assist as the Jr. Reign picked up the 4-2 win in the title game. Logan Strasser and Christian Martinez added goals and Matthew Day took the win between the pipes. Mattias Hjarlmarson and Drake Dunphy scored for the Cosmos with Jaden Freeman playing goal for the entire game.
Champion: Anaheim Jr. Ducks
Runner-up: Jr. Reign Carlsbad
Mason Oard‘s hat trick led the Jr. Ducks to the championship with a 7-1 win. Noah McCoy had a goal and an assist while Seth Heinrich scored twice and Zachary Blocher collected a goal. Easton Lee had a stellar game between the pipes. Vigo Garcia scored for the Jr. Reign and James Paz had a good showing in goal.
Champion: Jr. Reign 12U BB Riverside (pictured top)
Runner-up: Tri-Valley Blue Devils 12U BB1
Alex Whitehead‘s three goals and an assist led the Jr. Reign to capture the banner with a 7-2 win over the Blue Devils. Bonhoeffer Rhee and Andrew Ito scored, with Spencer Wills and Daniel Medina scoring once with an assist to support Rene Michaels‘ play in goal. Shane Weeck had a goal and an assist for Tri-Valley, Jasper Hoffman added a goal, Parker Crudale chipped in two assists, and Zachary Kolar fared well in the Blue Devils’ crease.
Champion: Jr. Reign 10U A Carlsbad
Runner-up: Jr. Reign 10U BB Riverside
Nolan Thompson‘s third-period goal was the difference for Carlsbad in a 3-2 win over Riverside. Thompson added an assist for a two-point game. Hunter Hine and Wolf Pritchett also scored and Kivik Jamack earned the win between the pipes. For Riverside, Foster Million and Tristan Zur Neiden scored with Andrew Morales and Teddy Wilson playing well in net.
Champion: Jr. Reign 10U BB Carlsbad
Runner-up: Jr. Reign 10U B2 Riverside
The Jr. Reign battle went to the 10U BB Carlsbad team, who scored three in the third period for the 7-5 championship victory. Roman Cournoyer had three goals and four assists and Jaxson Jonas added three goals of his own with a pair of assists. Sawyer Ormeno chipped in a goal and two assists. For the Riverside squad, Jacen Mower scored twice, Riley Driscoll and Carter Hubbard each had a goal and an assist, and Sean Delaney also scored.
8U A MLK
Champion: AHU Knights Silver B
Runner-up: DYHA Jr. Sun Devils 8U A2
Two Arizona teams met for the championship here, with the Knights besting the Jr. Sun Devils 7-1 to bring home the title.
8U A Apollo 1
Champion: Anaheim Jr. Ducks 8U A2
Runner-up: Anaheim Jr. Ducks 8U A3
In a battle of Jr. Ducks teams, the 8U A2 team came away victors with an 8-1 win over their counterparts.
8U A Apollo 2
Champion: AHU Knights Silver B
Runner-up: DYHA Jr. Sun Devils Elite A2
The championship match between two Arizona teams went to the Knights, who took a 7-1 win to capture the title.
8U B Fred
Champion: AHU Knights Mites White A
Runner-up: Ventura Mariners
The offense and defense were clicking for the Knights, who won the title with a 13-0 victory.
8U B Scooby
Champion: Jr. Reign 8U B2 Riverside
Runner-up: AHU Knights Mites White B
The Jr. Reign potted four goals in the first period and never looked back in securing the championship with a 9-3 win over AHU.
8U B Shaggy
Champion: Jr. Reign 8U B1 Riverside
Runner-up: OC Hockey Club
The Jr. Reign scored three goals in the first period and three in the second and held on for the 6-5 championship win as OCHC netted three goals in the third period to make the game close.
The next IE Tournament Series event is the Presidents’ Day Open, which is scheduled for Feb. 17-20.
For more information or to register, visit www.jrreign.com/tournaments.
Photos/Wayne Henderson, James Karr & Jake Dyck
— Matt Mackinder
(January 25, 2023)