STRONGSVILLE, Ohio - The Santa Margarita Eagles earned their second consecutive High School National Championship on Monday. The Eagles knocked off Edina Junior Gold A, 4-1, to claim the Div. I title at the Chipotle-USA Hockey High School National Championships in Cleveland.
Joshua Hyden was the biggest difference in Monday’s win as he earned a hat trick after scoring three goals in the second period.
“I talked to the kids and told them how proud I was of the work they put in this season,” Santa Margarita coach Craig Johnson said. “Nobody thought we could get back. We lost so many players from last year that everybody doubted us.”
After a scoreless first period the line of Hyden, Brendan Williams and Joseph Felicicchia went to work.
All three of Hyden’s goal were tallied in a span of just over seven-and-a-half minutes in the second period with Felicicchia and Williams each assisting on two of the goals. Axel Carlberg also earned an assist.
“That line was going for us all tournament,” Johnson said. “They made some great plays and those were nice goals. They passed the puck well and found openings.”
In this tournament, Hyden and Williams each tallied 13 points while Felicicchia had eight. Those numbers were good enough to put them among the tournament leaders.
“Hyden can shoot. He is a competitor and wants to score goals and has that goal-scoring mentality,” Johnson said. “When you put him with Williams, he is a play maker that brings energy. Felicicchia does all the dirty work. He forechecks hard and backchecks. All three of them work well together.”
While Hyden might have been the star of Monday’s final, he was more happy for his teammates.
“It was unbelievable, and I was so happy I could do it for the seniors,” Hyden said. “Brendan Williams and Joey (Felicicchia) are amazing. I wouldn’t being anything without them.”
Monday’s game was not only a chance at a national championship. The Eagles also had the chance to extract some revenge after losing to Edina 2-1 on Saturday in their final pool play game of the tournament.
“We tried to look at what they did to us in the first game and we wanted to see how to attack them,” Johnson said. “Edina is such a good team with a rich tradition. We have a lot of respect for them, I can’t say enough about them.”
Despite the loss, Edina coach Bill Smith believed his team put forth the maximum effort. That was led by captains Michael Miller, Ian Stentz and Sammy Sherod. The lone goal from the Minnesota-based team came in the second period when TJ Mahoney scored to tie the game at 1.
“We played our hearts out and got beat by a very good team,” Smith said. “Even though we came out on the short end of the stick, they did an excellent job.”
In addition to winning consecutive national championships, the Eagles won this event in 2013 and were second place finishers in 2017 in Cleveland.
“For these guys to get where they got and win the national championship is a testament to how hard they worked and the belief they had in each other,” Johnson said. “These kids were counted out. To persevere and work hard even though people doubt you is the number one thing we tried to teach them throughout this.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.