While Alaska teams won all the championships in the USA Hockey Pacific District Girls’ Tournament that was also held in Washington state the previous week, they won none of them in the youth Tier I tournament that was played at the Twin Rinks Arena in Tacoma. Instead, four teams from California won them all.
L.A. Kings of 14U and 16U
The California teams that did the best were the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, which won district titles at 14U and 16U. In the 16U division, the Jr. Kings beat the Washington Wilderness 2-1, ending hopes for a hometown winner. The Jr. Kings had lost to the Jr. Sharks in one of their previous game but went on to beat the Wilderness and win the championship.
“From the start of the year we tried to build a team concept. It was all about the team,’’ said coach Mark Hardy, a 15-year veteran of the NHL. “We were very lucky to have two outstanding goaltenders, Alex Bonrouhi and Lucas Massie. Our defense was made up of five defensemen that were tremendous skaters, responsible defensively, and moved the puck very well.
“We felt that we had to play just as hard without the puck as when we had control of it. This team was special and did whatever it took to win. They all complemented each other. It was fun to watch them grow. We competed each and every game.’’
And in the 14U division, the Jr. Kings went 3-1 at the district tournament, with that one loss coming to the San Jose Jr. Sharks. That set up a rematch for the district championship, and the Kings got their revenge in a 5-1 win.
As USA Hockey District Director Steve Laing said: “I found the 14U to be more visible than the other ones. Their size and speed and play was pretty dominant.’’
Ducks fly together in 15-Only
However, in the 15-Only division, the Jr. Sharks lost in the championship final to the Anaheim Jr. Ducks, who beat them 5-2. The Ducks championship victory completed a perfect sweep of the tournament.
“We had a feeling going into the district that they were a team we had to beat if we wanted to win the district tournament,’’ Jr. Ducks coach David Walker said. “And we were right. We got in the final. The plus side of getting a team in the final is that you know so much about the team. There is nothing that’s going to change. We knew how we had to play to beat them and it was just a matter of whether we could to do it for three periods.’’
In addition to their five goals, Ducks goalkeeper Alex Koenig also did a great job by making 25 saves.
“The third was the worst period of the game for us but Alex was back there and helped weather the storm,’’ Walker said.
Sharks take a bite out 18U
The 18U Jr. Sharks won all their matches in that tournament, including beating Team Alaska 6-1 in the final. Owen Bohn had two goals and two assists in that championship game with Cade Herrera scoring two with one assist. Jake Meure chipped in four assists.
District titles as good as it gets this year
Due to coronavirus concerns, USA Hockey had to make the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championships, meaning the Pacific District titles these teams won represent the highest title they’ll be able to win this year. But despite the disappointment of not playing for a national title, the players can take pride in the district titles won.
“We can take solace in the fact that we won our district,’’ Walker said. “We will hold our heads high based on that.’’
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.