California Rubber

California’s and Nevada’s Authoritative Voice of Hockey

Lady Ducks advance five to USA Hockey Youth Nationals


Girl power is alive and well in California.

The Golden State captured all six Pacific District AAA and AA spots – five by the Anaheim Lady Ducks – to qualify for the USA Hockey Youth Nationals back on March 8-11 at Solar4America Ice at San Jose.


The five Nationals qualifiers (14U AA, 14U AAA, 16U AA, 16U AAA and 19U AAA) is a high-water mark for the 19-year-old Lady Ducks, whose Women’s C team also is headed to Nationals in the Boston area.

“We feel like we’re highly competitive at Tier I but to have Tier II do so well is a dream come true,” Lady Ducks program director and 14U AA coach Kathy McGarrigle said. “To build a development system and have them win is pretty special.

“The girls at the AA level have been so competitive and worked so hard at developing. Coach Dani Ahumada has done a great job with the 16U AAs.”

The host San Jose Jr. Sharks captured the 19U AA title.

14U AA: The Lady Ducks overcame an opening loss to the Washington Wild to win four in a row, the last of which was a 3-2 decision over the Anchorage North Stars in the final. Maddie Lalonde’s goal at 13:17 was the difference for Anaheim, which also got goals from Bryce Fleming and Reese Sunada in the first period.

14U AAA: Sara Ito-Bagshaw scored two power-play goals and Claire Ghantous added a third-period tally to lift the Lady Ducks to a 3-0 victory over the Jr. Sharks in the decisive game of the best-of-three series. The LDs won the opener 5-1 before San Jose took Game 2, 2-1.

16U AA: Taylor Freestone scored two goals and Alexandria Young added one as the Lady Ducks capped an undefeated run with a 3-2 victory over Anchorage, which had to beat the Jr. Sharks to reach the final.

16U AAA: Emme Hayes’ goal 10:06 into overtime lifted the Lady Ducks over Anchorage 2-1 in the third game of the teams’ best-of-three series. Alexandria Tillemans gave the LDs a lead midway through the third period, but the North Stars tied it with 10 seconds to play in regulation. Anaheim won an elimination game in the second game, 2-0, to give itself a chance to reach the final.

19U AA: The Jr. Sharks avenged an earlier loss to the Alaska All Stars by shutting them out 3-0 in the final. Evelyne Blais-Savoie scored all three goals and Ria Stevens added two assists for San Jose.

The Lady Ducks’ 19U AAA and Women’s C teams were uncontested in the district and advanced directly to Nationals.


California also fared well on the boys side, winning three of four AAA titles, including two by the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and one by the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, who turned in the tournament’s most dominant performance en route to the Bantam AAA crown.

18U AAA: The Jr. Ducks shut out the Jr. Kings 6-0 in the final. Val Ardizzone scored two goals and Logan Harris, Zachary Pires, Dylan Reightley and Ryan Fischer added goals. Anaheim earlier edged the Jr. Kings 8-7 in a shootout after losing its opening game to the Alaska Oilers in a shootout.

16U AAA: The Jr. Ducks bounced back from an opening loss to the Alaska Oilers to run the table, ultimately defeating the Oilers 6-3 in the final. Jackson Niedermayer scored two power-play goals, Benjamin Biester added two third-period goals, and Timothy Marchant and Joseph Harguindeguy added goals for the Jr. Ducks, who overcame eight penalties.

15U AAA: The Alaska Oilers scored four third-period goals to defeat the Jr. Sharks 4-2. San Jose got goals from Philip Collard and Max Scott.

14U AAA: The Jr. Kings capped a dominant tournament with an 8-0 victory over the Anchorage North Stars. Blake Simmons and Paul Minnehan scored two goals apiece and Noah Alvarez, Andre Gasseau, Ty Murchison and Riley Ruh added tallies. L.A. had a 20-2 goal differential before its 4-2 semifinal win over the Jr. Ducks.

— Chris Bayee

(March 22, 2018)

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