The Los Angeles Jr. Kings’ 18U AA, 16U AA1 and 12U AA1 teams punched their tickets to this year’s CAHA State Championships after advancing through Tier II Playdowns, which were contested last weekend in Simi Valley and Valencia.
Led by head coach Sean Hoang, the club's 18U AA team (pictured) opened Playdowns on Saturday in Valencia with a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Jr. Gulls before securing its spot at States with a 4-3 triumph over the Pasadena Maple Leafs.
“This is an exciting and well-deserved opportunity for these kids and their families,” said Hoang. “Each and every one of them is committed to the overall success of the team and it’s just a great group to coach.”
The Ray Macias-coached 16U AA1 team began its Playdowns in Valencia with a 9-0 loss to the Santa Clara Blackhawks before rebounding with a 2-1 triumph over California Wave 1 on Saturday and 5-3 victory over Golden State Elite Eagles 1 on Sunday.
“I’m so proud of our boys,” said Macias. “We had to rally when it counted most and they responded with a couple of hard-fought efforts. There’s no quit in this group and we saw that again last weekend.”
In Simi Valley, the Jeff Bain-led 12U AA1 team opened its Playdowns with a 4-0 victory over Gold Rush Hockey Club 1 on Friday before dropping a 4-2 decision to Golden State Elite 1 on Saturday. In Sunday’s make-or-break contest against the Valencia Jr. Flyers, the Jr. Kings prevailed in a shootout, 4-3.
“Our entire group has had to dig deep all season and last weekend was no exception,” said Bain. “We have a resilient bunch with a team-first mentality and we’re going to need that same effort and mindset heading into States.”
The Jr. Kings’ 14U AA1 team, coached by Kelly Stirzel, finished with a 1-2 record at Playdowns in Simi Valley, falling to Anaheim Jr. Ducks 1 in its deciding game, 3-1.
The CAHA Tier II State Championships will be played from March 13-15 at Ice-Plex Escondido.