The Los Angeles Jr. Kings’ Bantam Major team qualified for next month’s USA Hockey National Championships after celebrating the title in its division at this year’s Pacific District Championships, which were showcased last weekend (March 8-11) in San Jose.
At the Tier I national tournament, which will run from April 5-10 in Charlotte, N.C., the 2003 birth-year squad will face off against the rest of the country’s best in the 14U age group.
The state champion Jr. Kings, led by head coach Jeff Turcotte, cruised to a perfect 5-0 record at districts, including an 8-0 shutout performance over the Anchorage North Stars in Sunday’s championship game.
L.A. opened the round-robin portion of the tournament on Thursday with a 6-1 victory over the San Jose Jr. Sharks, followed by triumphs over the Alaska All Stars (8-0 on Friday) and Anaheim Jr. Ducks (6-1 on Saturday). The Jr. Kings took down the Jr. Ducks again in their semifinal contest on Saturday, 4-2, before their title-game matchup with Anchorage.
Defenseman Aidan Hreschuk led the Jr. Kings’ scoring charge over the weekend with 11 points (two goals), followed by forwards Paul Minnehan (three goals for nine points) and Arvega Hovsepyan (four goals for nine points). Between the pipes, goaltender Alex Bonrouhi won all five games allowing only four goals against.
At the A, BB and B levels, four Jr. Kings teams - Pee Wee BB (pictured) and Squirt A2, BB1 and B - advanced through the quarterfinal round of the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association (SCAHA) playoffs in their respective divisions to punch their tickets to next weekend’s semifinal round, which will be played on March 17-18 at Ice Station Valencia.
Under the direction of head coach Stephane Desjardins, the Jr. Kings’ Pee Wee BB club finished with a 1-1-0-1 record (five points) in its quarters, which was contested in Valencia, while the Squirt A2 squad, coached by James Gasseau, went 2-0-1-0 (seven) at Anaheim’s KHS Ice Arena.
The Jeff Bain-led Squirt BB1 team forged a 1-1-0-1 (five points) mark in its division at Icetown Riverside, and the Squirt B club, coached by Chet Carlbom, went 2-0-0-1 (six) at Ice-Plex Escondido.
At the Tier II level, the Jr. Kings’ Pee Wee AA1 team, led by head coach Maik Tatavosian, will compete in next weekend’s four-team State Championships, which will be played from March 16-18 in Escondido.
Three other Tier I state champion Jr. Kings teams participated in last weekend’s Pacific District Championships, including the program’s 18U AAA squad, led by head coach Barry Dreger, which advanced to the championship game in its division and finished the weekend with a 2-1-1 record.
The 16U AAA team, coached by Jack Bowkus, advanced to the semifinals in its bracket and finished with a 2-2 mark, while the Jaro Modry-coached 15U AAA squad wrapped up the weekend with a 1-2 record.
L.A.’s Pee Wee A1 squad, led by head coach Chad Demers, had its season come to an end in the SCAHA quarterfinal playoff round after forging a 1-1-0-1 record (five points) in its bracket in Escondido.
The LA Lions’ 16U AA team, coached by Tori Pizzuto, went 0-3 in its division at Pacific District Championships, which were also played last weekend in San Jose.