Milestone Give Blood Play Hockey event faces off 2018-19 inline season
Each year, the inline hockey season in Southern California traditionally faces off with the annual Give Blood Play Hockey charity inline tournament.
It was no different this year as the puck dropped on the organization’s 12th annual event Oct. 18-21 at The Rinks-Irvine Inline.
What made this year’s tournament special, however, was the culmination of more than a decade of hard work and anticipation when total donations to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), the organization’s primary beneficiary, surpassed the $1 million mark.
“We don’t have the final numbers yet. We’re waiting on everything coming in and also the final blood count, but we did meet our million-dollar goal, we do know that,” tournament co-founder Mary Korus acknowledged.
Korus said that over the tournament’s 12-year history, the following milestones have been set:
•A $1 million donation to CHOC.
•3,500 units of donated life-saving blood.
•1,000 teams playing and donating in support of the organization’s mission statement: Give Blood, Play Hockey, Fight Cancer.
Korus said when figures are officially tabulated that more details on this year’s record-setting event would be released.
The start of regular-season play in both the Anaheim Ducks Inline Scholastic Hockey League (ADISL) and the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) is set to take place during the last weekend in October.
Both organizations held preseason events but now it is time for the games to finally count in the standings.
The ADISL is fielding 17 high school teams this season, plus eight teams in its complementary junior high school league.
ADISL coordinator John Paerels noted that after careful consideration of preseason results and feedback from teams and rink staff, ADISL administrators have decided to split the 17 teams for the fall/winter season into two divisions for regular season play.
The Varsity/JV-A Division will include eight teams: Beckman I, Beckman II, Edison I, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Norco, Santiago and Villa Park.
Each team will play five teams in the division twice each (10 games) and the other two teams once each (two games) for a total of 12 regular season games.
After the regular season, the division will be split into Varsity (top four teams) and JV-A (bottom four teams) for playoffs.
The nine teams that comprise the JV-B/JV-C regular season division includes Crossroads Christian, Edison II, El Toro, Irvine High School, Laguna Hills, Mater Dei, Pacifica, Woodbridge and Cypress.
Each team will play four teams in the division twice each (eight games) and the other four teams once each (four games) for a total of 12 regular season games.
After the regular season, the division will be split into JV-B (top four to five teams) and JV-C (bottom four to five teams) for playoffs, with the final split to be determined.
Regular-season play faces off Oct. 28 at three rinks: Corona Inline, Huntington Beach Inline and Irvine Inline. Regular season play continues through February.
“The high school preseason went well, and it was very tough to split the divisions,” Paerels explained. “Unlike last fall/winter season (with Beckman I) no one team looks to be dominant, and with a number of teams on the bubble between groups that led to the decision to go with just two divisions, to be split further for playoffs.”
Three weeks of preseason games took place between Sept. 30 and Oct. 14. Each team played six games.
Huntington Beach was the only team to win all its games (6-0-0) while Beckman II and Woodbridge both finished with 4-1-1 records. El Toro finished 4-2-0 while Beckman I, Santiago, Edison I and Irvine all finished 3-2-1.
Sixteen of the 17 teams picked up at least one win. Mission Viejo and Crossroads Christian both finished 3-3-0 while Laguna Hills posted a 2-2-2 record. Pacifica finished 2-3-1, Norco and Villa Park both finished 2-4-0, and Mater Dei finished 1-4-1. Edison II finished 1-5-0 while Cypress finished 0-6-0.
Thibault Caballero of Beckman II and Spencer Kim of Laguna Hills finished as the preseason scoring leaders with 15 points each. Caballero recorded 13 goals and two assists while Kim notched 12 goals and three assists.
Eight players scored 10 or more points. Following Caballero and Kim’s lead were Irvine’s Nathan Craig (nine goals, three assists) with 12 points, Woodbridge’s Charlie Kennedy (eight goals, three assists) and Mission Viejo’s Tucker Abel (seven goals, four assists) with 11 points each, and El Toro’s tandem of Jacob Fallman (nine goals, one assist) and Killian Powell (seven goals, three assists) and Laguna Hill’s Keegan Mooney (four goals, six assists) all with 10 points each.
Huntington Beach’s Vincent Dunton finished 6-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average to top goaltenders in the preseason slate.
Max Dei Rossi recorded two shutouts — one each while playing between the pipes for Beckman I and Beckman II.
Four other netminders each recorded one shutout: Woodbridge’s Corey Hickson, Santiago’s Darrion Deshong, Pacifica’s Bradley Henke and Beckman I’s Danny Tasigeorgos.
Jeffrey Trail Middle School tops the ADISL’s junior high division with a 3-1-0-0 record after facing off the fall season on Sept. 28, followed by Rancho San Joaquin Middle School (3-2-0-0), Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School (2-1-0-1), Isaac Sowers Middle School Black (2-2-0-0), Lakeside Middle School I (1-1-0-1), Irvine Combo (1-1-0-0), Isaac Sowers Middle School White (1-2-0-0) and Lakeside Middle School II (1-2-0-0).
“Junior high is mostly competitive, but the new Rancho San Joaquin team, made up of AAA-level ice players who all (other than their goalie) actually attend RSJ or a feeder elementary, is very strong and would probably be a good match against many of the high school teams,” Paerels said.
Rancho San Joaquin’s Philippe Lalonde, an accomplished 2005 birth-year ice hockey player in the Jr. Ducks organization, tops the junior high league in scoring with 17 goals in three games played. Rancho Santa Margarita’s Nick Woods (six goals, four assists) with 10 points and Rancho San Joaquin’s Ethan Woolcott (five goals, four assists) with nine points follow Lalonde in the scoring table.
Lakeside I’s Ulysse Verrando and Lakeside II’s Raegen Schlueter each have collected seven goals and one assist for eight points. Four players follow with seven points each: Rancho San Joaquin’s Alexandra Lalonde (seven goals), Sower Black’s Michael Jagiello (six goals, one assist), Rancho Santa Margarita’s Marcus Kammerer (six goals, one assist) and Sower White’s Ethan Laghaei (six goals, one assist).
Sower Black’s Brendan Stirbu has scored six goals in four games while teammate Cole Jackson has scored five goals.
Rancho San Joaquin goaltender Chance Legaspi tops the league with a 3-0-0 record and one shutout. Sower Black’s Jack Lyon and Rancho Santa Margarita’s Pete Gonzalez have also each posted one shutout to face off the fall season.
Irvine Combo’s Jeremy Son (pictured right) turned in one of the most inspirational performances so far this season after donning the pads at the last minute when the team’s regular goaltender became ill. Despite never playing the position before, Son pulled out a win in the Oct. 12 game against Lakeside II to earn the game’s No. 1 star billing.
For more information, visit the ADISL’s Facebook page.
Meanwhile, nine current WCRHL teams and four associated alumni teams gathered Oct. 6 at Irvine Inline for a daylong preseason event.
The 20 games, held every 40 minutes, featured two 12-minute stop time periods. If tied, teams went directly to a three-man shootout.
WCRHL teams competed in their appropriate division following realignment for the 2018-19 season.
Cal Poly Pomona (Division IV) finished 4-0 while Arizona State University (Division I) finished 3-0. CSU Fullerton (Division II) and UC Irvine (Division III) both finished 2-1 while UCLA (Division III), Cal Berkeley (Division III) and ASU’s Division IV team (one one-goal and one two-goal loss against teams from higher tiers) all finished 1-2. Pomona’s Division IV team (three one-goal losses, including one in a shootout) and UC Santa Barbara’s Division IV team both finished 0-3.
“Arizona State’s Division I team looked strong, winning all of their games,” WCRHL director Brennan Edwards said. “ASU’s Division IV team is strong again and should be a front runner in that division.
“CSU Fullerton should do well in Division II. They were the only Division II team (at the preseason event) but we know that will be a competitive division based on these teams’ recent years’ performances.
“Cal Poly Pomona looked strong in Division III. UCLA, playing in its first collegiate roller hockey in more than 15 years, fits well in Division III along with Cal and UC Irvine.”
Among the alumni teams, ASU and UC San Diego both finished 2-1 while CSU Fullerton and Cal Poly finished 1-2.
“This year we added the alumni teams in and they all had a great time,” Edwards said. “Average ages of the alumni teams ranged from 25 to 38 years old. More than fun, they provided stiff competition for ASU, which was the only Division I team in attendance.”
Pomona has five returning players on its upper team (now classified in Division III), including Derick Rosas (one of the top scorers in Division II last year with 42 points in 17 games) and goaltender Garrett Griffin (three shutouts in 2017-18). The Broncos also have five returning players on their lower team (now classified as Division IV), including goaltender Jake Oberschelp, who joined the team in the second half of the 2017-18 season and had an immediate impact.
Pomona is still in the process of finalizing the rosters, but besides two to three players moving up from the lower team to the upper team, there are at least five new players to the overall program. The upper team should be one of the strongest in the WCRHL’s Division III tier this season and, according to the coaching staff, the team expects nothing less than a return trip to the national championship tournament.
Pomona advanced to the Division II quarterfinals at April’s National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) national championship tournament in Fargo, N.D., with playoff wins over Denver and San Jose State.
The WCRHL faces off its regular season schedule with a two-day kick-off event Oct. 27-28 at San Jose’s Silver Creek Sportsplex.
For updates on the 2018-19 season, visit wcrhl.com.
— Phillip Brents
(Oct. 25, 2018)