The Los Angeles Jr. Kings’ 16U AAA and 14U AAA teams celebrated the titles in their respective divisions at this year's California Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) State Championships, which were contested last weekend at Solar4America Ice at San Jose.
As state champions, both clubs punched their tickets to next month’s Pacific District Championships, which will run from March 5-8 in Tacoma, Wash.
Led by head coach Jack Bowkus, the 14U AAA team (pictured) came back from a 2-1 deficit heading into the third period to down the San Jose Jr. Sharks, 3-2, on Sunday to win its division at States.
The line of Hunter Anderson (two goals, including the third-period game-winner, and one assist), Brenden Fields (goal and two assists, one on the game-winning marker) and Sebastian Demarais (assist on the game-winner) accounted for all of the Jr. Kings’ scoring, while goaltender Calvin Vachon turned aside 19 of the 21 shots he faced.
The 14U AAA team began its tournament on Friday knocking off the Jr. Sharks, 7-4, followed by a 2-1 triumph over the Anaheim Jr. Ducks. On Saturday, the Jr. Kings took down San Jose again, 5-3, and Anaheim, 5-2.
The 14U AAA victory marks the fourth straight state championship for the core of the current Jr. Kings’ 2005 birth-year group.
“From top to bottom, it was a just resilient effort from the entire group and they responded when it counted most,” said Bowkus. “I’m so proud of these young men and can’t wait to see what they can accomplish at Districts.”
It took triple-overtime for the Mark Hardy-led 16U AAA squad to down the San Jose Jr. Sharks, 5-4, in the decisive game on Sunday to earn its state championship.
Primarily a 2003 birth-year team, 16U AAA club opened States on Friday with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Jr. Sharks, but rebounded with a 5-2 victory over the Jr. Ducks later that evening. On Sunday, the Jr. Kings downed the Jr. Sharks, 4-3, and the Jr. Ducks, 6-4.
"What a championship game, and what a great overall effort from our entire group the entire weekend," said Hardy. "We have a room full of young men with tremendous work ethic who know how to persevere, and we plan to carry that same discipline into Districts."
The Jr. Kings’ 13U AAA (Brett Beebe), 12U AAA (Jeff Turcotte) and 11U AAA (Shawn Pitcher) teams will compete for CAHA state titles the weekend of Feb. 28-March 1 in Riverside.