The arrival of the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League has definitely pumped up interest in the sport of hockey — both ice and inline — in the San Diego region. The Gulls serve as the top minor league affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League and feature top draft picks and players who have played in the NHL on their roster.
The Gulls roared out to a 7-1 start in their new nest at the Valley View Casino Center to push the excitement level of fans even higher.
Not surprisingly, player turnout for the nine Sweetwater Union High School District roller hockey teams has been good, with an upsurge of interest partly due to on-campus recruiting and the presence of the new Gulls professional team.
The Otay Ranch High School roller hockey team is bursting at the seams with players this season in fact. The Mustangs faced off the 2015-16 season with a full complement of 16 players on their roster. The team hopes to use both numbers and talent to capture this year’s Mesa League championship.
“Our goals are to win the Mesa League title and win our first playoff game — at least,” said head coach Jose Castro, who takes over the reins of the Otay Ranch program this season.
Castro comes to the Otay Ranch program with invaluable experience both as a player and a coach within the Sweetwater district. He played four years at Southwest High School (2005-09). He received a scholarship to play at CSU Northridge but elected to stay home and play at San Diego State University. He played ice hockey for SDSU’s club team for two years before leaving to study abroad in Madrid.
Castro played hockey in Spain for three months with a club team there. When he returned to this country, he elected to play soccer his last two years at SDSU, though he served as an assistant coach with Southwest’s roller hockey team.
“I have a passion for the game and like to help young adults reach places they could never imagine reaching,” Castro explained of his desire to pursue a coaching career. “I started like all these kids in the South Bay, not knowing how to skate and on all fours (while learning how to skate). But with a strong work ethic I was able to get better and played every position for my team (at Southwest).”
The head coaching position at Otay Ranch, traditionally one of the stronger teams in the Sweetwater district, opened this year and Castro interviewed for the job.
“It was instant chemistry with the school’s assistant principal and athletic director,” Castro explained. “The school and parents have been very supportive of this program knowing that I am new to the school and a first-time hockey head coach. I believe in this group of students and I am totally invested in being successful, yet humble at the same time. They are a great hockey group and have responded well to my program and system. We will have our roadblocks, but I am confident that we can overcome anything on or off the rink.”
So far it’s been a highly successful opening act for Castro and his new team.
The Mustangs rolled to a 4-0 start in play against fellow Sweetwater district teams to face off the new season. Otay Ranch defeated defending South Bay League champion Castle Park, 15-2, on Dec. 2 in non-league play and then defeated Hilltop, 5-1, in the teams’ Mesa League opener on Dec. 8. Victories against Bonita Vista (10-0 on Dec. 15) and Eastlake (8-7 on Dec. 17) followed.
Eastlake is the defending Mesa League champion.
Top players on Otay Ranch this season include senior Ricky Portilla, who wears the captain’s “C” on his jersey this season, along with junior Aaron Marientes, senior David Mendez and sophomore Paul Chavez.
Freshman Sean Devaney tops the Mustangs’ list of impact newcomers along with junior John Gentile and senior Nick Trottier. Sophomore goaltender J.T. Santiago has been a standout between the pipes.
Devaney, who has ice hockey experience with the Jr. Gulls program, made a dramatic debut for the Mustangs with five goals in his first varsity game while Portilla led Otay Ranch overall with six points in the same game on two goals and four assists.
Overall, nine players picked up points for the Mustangs in the season opening game.
Otay Ranch became the first district team to pick up two wins to start the season when it defeated Hilltop in a key game for both teams.
Marientes led Otay Ranch with two goals while senior Hector Sanchez had a goal and assist and Portilla and Trottier each scored one goal. Castro called the win over Hilltop “a great win for this team.”
“Our goal is to win our league and it all started with (the win over) Hilltop,” Castro said. “Overall we played well, but there is still a lot of stuff we need to work on. My defenders need to fix minor details going forward and my second- and third-line players did a great job of hustling and giving us a shot to win and keep Hilltop at one goal. Our goalie had some key saves. We need to step it up to put us on the right path leading into the winter break.”
The Mustangs did just that with wins over Bonita Vista and Eastlake to enter the holiday break alone in first place in the league standings with a perfect 3-0 showing. Otay Ranch’s lone loss in the opening three weeks of play was 5-2 to St. Augustine in a non-league game on Dec. 9.
Even though the Mustangs dropped the game to the Saints, Castro was pleased with the team’s effort. “We fought to the end,” the ORHS coach said.
The Mustangs resume play Jan. 11. It should be an exciting second half of the season for Castro and his team — and, potentially, a very rewarding one.
Mustangs remain unbeaten in league play after 10-0 shutout of Barons
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 15 – The Otay Ranch Mustangs extended their Mesa League record to 2-0 to start the 2015-16 season after rolling past the Bonita Vista Barons 10-0. Freshman Sean Devaney starred on the playing court with six goals for the victorious Mustangs. Ricky Portilla and Aaron Marientes both contributed a pair of goals to the winning effort while Ana Toledo chipped in with a pair of assists. Portilla finished the game with three points by also adding an assist.
J.T. Santiago stopped all 10 shots he faced to record the shutout victory while Naya Romero and Ashley Massarene combined for 12 saves for Bonita Vista.
Otay Ranch improved to 4-1 overall (4-0 against Sweetwater district teams) while the Barons dropped to 0-2 in league play, 1-3 overall.
Mustangs win see-saw match-up against Titans to top Mesa League standings
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 17, 2015 – The Otay Ranch Mustangs and Eastlake Titans entered their final game before the winter break with undefeated 2-0 Mesa League records. The teams' meeting for undisputed first place in the league standings proved to be a see-saw battle. The score was tied five times before Otay Ranch finally managed to take a two-goal lead. But that didn't last long as Eastlake promplty scored to return the game to a one-goal margin.
The Mustangs eventually prevailed 8-7.
Both teams held three leads in the game before Otay Ranch managed to slip through with the win in the waning minutes.
“It was a great win for us against Eastlake,” Mustang head coach Jose Castro said. “It was a great way to head into the second half of our season. Our goal was to go into winter break on a positive note and we achieved that. It was a really ugly win for us, but the fans really enjoyed it and were very excited.
“Our goalie was not at 100 percent and it showed. We were able to overcome bad plays and relied on our team camaraderie and pulled out the win. I made some moves on the defensive end that were beneficial down the stretch. Overall, great win because it showed our resilience and that we can come back and win. Looking forward to playing them again.”
Otay Ranch took a 1-0 lead as Hector Sanchez scored into an open side of the net against rookie EHS goaltender Erin Gregory. Team captain Ricky Portilla assisted on the play.
But the Titans rolled back with goals by Will Hamilton and Jake Powell to take a 2-1 lead early in the second period. The Mustangs tied the game at two goals when Paul Chavez scored, assisted by Sanchez.
But Eastlake went back on top on a second goal by Hamilton, assisted by Powell. But Otay Ranch came back again to tie the score, 3-3, when David Mendez scored. Gregory was injured on the play but continued between the pipes.
The Titans killed a Mustang power play and took the lead at 4-3 on Powell's second goal of the game. But the teams remained close as Portilla scored his first of what would be three goals in the game to knot the teams in a 4-4 standoff.
Gregory was reinjured on the scoring play and a 10-minute timeout ensued to change goaltenders.
Eastlake once again killed a penalty and quickly went back to killing another. It appeared the Titans had killed the second penalty before Portilla, taking a pass from Mendez, beat the new EHS netminder with one tick left. The goal put the Mustangs ahead 5-4 entering the third period.
The Titans had an answer for Portilla's go-ahead goal as Sean Layton scored the opening goal of the third period to tie the game 5-5. But Sanchez scored his second goal of the game to give Otay Ranch a 6-5 lead.
Portilla's hat trick goal pushed the Mustangs to their first two-goal lead of the game at 7-5. However, Eastlake promptly made it a one-goal game again when Powell netted his third goal of the game.
Chavez scored his second goal of the game to extend the Otay Ranch lead to 8-6. At this point, the Titans pulled the goaltender to go with an extra attack. It paid off when Layton scored but only four seconds remained in the game.
Final: Mustangs 8-7.
Portilla led Otay Ranch with three goals and one assist, followed by Sanchez and Chavez with two goals and one assist each and Mendez with one goal and one assist. Aaron Marientes contributed one assist.
For Eastlake, Powell picked up three goals and one assist, Hamilton and Layton each had two goals and one assist, while Brandon Benson and Luke Killeen each chipped in with one assist.
Otay Ranch goaltender J.T. Santiago finished the game with 16 saves. Gregory made a season-high 12 saves before her departure while Jesse Diaz made seven saves in emergency relief duty.
“A couple of bounces here and there,” EHS coach Ron Cole assessed of the tight meeting.
In other games played during the week at the Castle Park High School rink:
Red Revils tip Trojans in OT to pick up first win of season
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 14, 2015 – The Sweetwater Red Devils picked up their first win of the season by edging the Castle Park Trojans, 5-4, in overtime. The victory came after the Red Devils had started the season 0-2. The non-league loss dropped Castle Park to 1-3 on the season.
Marvin Ciriginao scored the opening three goals for the Trojans, who led 2-1 after the first period. The Devils went ahead 3-2 by scoring a pair of goals in the second period but Castle Park tacked on two more goals in the third period to one for Sweetwater as the teams skated to a 4-4 tie through the end of regulation play.
The teams then employed the conference's new three-on-three overtime rule, with Marco Salazar netting the game-winner with 2:14 remaining in the five-minute sudden-victory period. Armando Rivera received credit for the game-winning assist as Salazar whipped off a shot midway down from the red line in front of the bench area.
Salazar finished the game with two goals while Rivera finished the game with one goal and two assists. Phillip Brandon and Adrian Kercher each scored one goal while Jesus Meza collected one assist. Joel Ojeda earned credit for the goaltending victory.
Isaac Montero chipped in with one goal for the Trojans while Eleazar Cruz contributed two assists.
“It was a team effort,” SuHi's Brandon noted.
West Hills Wolf Pack roars to first victory of season with 23 goal-barrage
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 14, 2015 – The West Hills Wolf Pack ambushed the Bonita Vista Barons by a 23-0 score to record their first win of the 2015-16 season in a non-league match-up. The Wolf Pack started the game with five players and added a sixth midway through the game. West Hills used a fast-paced offensive attack that spread out the Bonita Vista defense to zoom in front, 9-0, after the first period. The Wolf Pack tacked on three goals in the middle period to lead 12-0 before closing out the game with 11 goals in the third period.
West Hills out-shot the Barons 51-4 to claim the win.
There are 11 players total on this season's Wolf Pack squad, though four play ice hockey concurrently to the inline season. That can put a drain on the team's roster availability when there are scheduling conflicts.
“When we have everyone together, we're a pretty tough team,” West Hills coach Steve Baldwin explained. “Our trouble is getting everyone together.”
The team is currently missing its top two players – Robby Baldwin and Cade Frederick. The younger Baldwin also plays ice hockey for the San Diego Selects while Frederick plays at the AAA ice level. The team's other two ice hockey players include John Klus (AAA level) and Trevor Anders (Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League).
Top returning players for the Wolf Pack who are currently on the active roster include Wes Konold, Dylan Siminoff, Gage Turnbow, Klus, Colton Grover, Kiana Cook and goaltenders Miguel San Martin and Thomas Guarino.
San Martin and Turnbow are the only seniors on the team. Siminoff, Konold and Frederick are all juniors while Robby Baldwin and Guarino are both sophomores and Grover, Klus and Cook are freshmen.
San Martin is an impact player between the pipes after leading the Wolf Pack to the 2013 Kiwanis Cup championship. He made 36 saves in the team's season opener against Escondido Charter.
The elder Baldwin said the team's goal this season is to land a berth in the playoffs and see where it leads from there. The team is hoping to improve on last season's 4-16 record.
“In order for us to get into the playoffs, we have to be one of the top 12 teams in the conference seeding-wise,” the WHHS coach said. “When we have everyone together, I think we're stronger than last year. When we have all the guys together, we can compete with just about everyone. It's a matter of getting everyone together.”
The Wolf Pack faced off the season with a 6-4 loss to conference newcomer Escondido Charter in a non-league match-up on Nov. 30, and followed that with a 5-5 tie against St. Augustine in a Central League game on Dec. 3. West Hills then dropped a 14-1 league decision to top-ranked Cathedral Catholic on Dec. 10 before defeating Bonita Vista.
Klus led the Wolf Pack to its first win by racking up six goals and five assists while Konold (five goals, three assists) and Grover (four goals, four assists) each collected eight points. San Martin, skating out of the cage, chipped in with five goals and one assist while Siminoff contributed three goals and one assist.
Guarino made four saves between the pipes to earn the shutout victory. Bonita Vista netminders Naya Romero (18) and Ashley Massarene (10) combined to make 28 saves in the setback.
In previous games involving West Hills:
Cathedral Catholic Dons 14, West Hills Wolf Pack 1
In a game played Dec. 10 at Skate San Diego in El Cajon, the Wolf Pack ran into a buzz-saw in the guise of the top-ranked Dons. Drew Jones led Cathedral Catholic with three goals and five assists while Jake Belland had two goals and three assists. Also for the Dons, Kyle Riddlespurger, John Leone, Will Devaney and Sam Lathus each scored two goals while Adam Stocker was credited with one goal on the scoresheet. Colton Grover scored the lone West Hills goal in the game.
West Hills Wolf Pack 5, St. Augustine Saints 5
In a game played Dec. 3 at Skate San Diego in El Cajon, the Wolf Pack and Saints settled for a 5-5 deadlock. Nick Heid scored four goals for St. Augustine while teammate Domenico Cianflone added a goal and assist. Robby Baldwin led West Hills with two goals while Dylan Siminoff, Wes Konold and Gage Turnbow each chipped in with one goal. Colton Grover, Siminoff and Thomas Guarino all had one assist in the Central League game.
Hilltop bids for upset but Eastlake nails down squeaker
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 15 – The Hilltop Lancers, bidding for an upset of defending Mesa League champion Eastlake, held four leads in the game but the Titans persevered to record a 6-5 victory.
Eastlake opened scoring with a goal by Will Hamilton, assisted by Percilla Mayer. But Hilltop found itself with its first lead after Andrew Tesner followed with back-to-back unassisted goals. Hamilton countered with a goal for the Titans to tie the score but Tesner scored his hat trick goal to end the first period with the Lancers in the lead 3-2.
Eastlake tied the game again, this time on a goal by Luke Killeen, but Danny Godinez responded with an unassisted goal to give Hilltop a 4-3 lead. The second period ended in a 4-4 stalemate after Hamilton scored his hat trick goal for the Titans.
Tesner scored his four goal of the game to face off the third period and push the Lancers ahead, 5-4, on the scoreboard. But Eastlake regroup to score the final two goals of the game to pull out a one-goal victory. Sean Layton scored a power play goal, assisted by newcomer Jake Powell, to tie the game at 5-5. Hamilton then matched Tesner with his fourth goal of the game with 2:08 remaining in regulation to post the game-winner.
The Lancers attacked furiously in the final two minutes but EHS rookie netminder Erin Gregory weathered the barrage, making a stick save in the standing position on the final shot of the game to preserve the win for the Titans. Gregory gained confidence as the game developed to finish with seven saves – her best this season. Andres Corrales made 16 stops for Hilltop in a losing cause.
Eastlake improved to 3-0 on the season, 2-0 in Mesa League play; Hilltop dropped to 1-2 on the season, 0-2 in league play.
Spartans roll past Mariners, 7-3, in non-league encounter
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 15 – The Mar Vista Mariners and Chula Vista Spartans met in a non-league match-up, with the Spartans rolling to a 7-3 win to remain undefeated on the season). The game was close at the start, with Chula Vista holding a 3-2 first-period edge, before the Spartans outscored the Mariners 4-1 over the balance of the contest.
Hector Garcia led Chula Vista (2-0 in South Bay League, 3-0 overall) with four goals and one assist while Jesse Amador added a goal and assist. Bill Frias and Ricardo Pina each scored once for the Spartans. CV goaltender Cruz Salas made six saves while facing nine shots
Eloy Rodriguez scored all three goals for Mar Vista (1-1 in South Bay League play), which saw its record drop to 1-3 overall.
Mar Vista skates past defending South Bay League champion Castle Park
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 16 – Eloy Rodriguez scored seven goals and added an assist to lead the Mar Vista Mariners past the defending South Bay League champion Castle Park Trojans, 9-2, in a key early season league contest. The Mariners improved to 2-3 on the season, 2-1 in league play, while the Trojans dropped to 1-3 overall., 1-1 in league play.
The first period didn't provide any hint to the offensive blockbuster that would follow as the teams skated to a 1-1 standoff. Rodriguez opened the game with a goal for Mar Vista while Marvin Cirignano answered that with a goal for Castle Park.
The Mariners would then reel off four unanswered goals to lead 5-1 and finish the second period with a 6-2 lead.
Cirignano scored both goals for Castle Park.
The Trojans were not without an offensive attack in the game despite scoring only two goals. Mar Vista goaltender Jake Dilliot finished the contest with 31 saves.
The Mariners were more successful in finding the net as they scored nine goals on 11 shots.
Spartans continue strong start to 2015-16 season
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 16 – The Chula Vista Spartans continued to cut an early season path through the South Bay League after defeating the Sweetwater Red Devils 10-2. Jesse Amador led Chula Vista with five goals and one assist while Hector Garcia contributed four goals and two assists. Ricardo Pina scored the Spartans' other goal while Giovani Cimmino chipped in with one assist. Cruz Salas stopped six of eight shots to post the win between the pipes.
Chula Vista, which led 4-1 at the end of the first period and 8-1 at the end of the second period, improved to 3-0 in South Bay League play, 4-0 overall.
Phillip Brandon scored both goals for Sweetwater (0-2 in league play, 1-3 overall).
Longest-running rivalry among Sweetwater district teams resumes for Barons, Lancers
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 17 – The Bonita Vista Barons and Hilltop Lancers resumed an inline hockey rivalry that extends back to 1998 when they took the court for their initial Mesa League encounter in 2015-16. The game was close and exciting to the end, with the Lancers claiming a tight 3-1 victory.
The first period was scoreless between the match-up of goaltenders Naya Romero (Bonita Vista) and Anthony Ryan (Hilltop). Both netminders would put on stellar showings: Romero finished the game with 23 saves while Ryan made 25 saves.
Romero had stopped the first 16 shots she faced before Esteban Martinez scored in the second period to put the Lancers ahead 1-0. Gerardo Barragan drew the assist.
Hilltop upped its lead to 2-0 in the period on an unassisted goal by Danny Godinez.
The Lancers killed a penalty, but the Barons scored on their next power play to halve their deficit on the scoreboard to 2-1. Matthew Costodio got the goal, assisted by Alex Tran.
The score at the end of the second period featured a one-goal Hilltop advantage. The Lancers finally got an insurance goal with 3:31 to play in the third period as Andrew Tesner scored on the power play.
But Bonita Vista was not finished. The Barons went on the power play with 2:46 left in regulation play and added an extra attacker after pulling its goaltender. But the Lancers could not score into the empty net.
Hilltop evened its record at 2-2 on the season while picking up its first win in three league games. Bonita Vista fell to 1-4 on the season, 0-3 in league play.
With the retirement of Hilltop coach Dan Vaccaro, Bonita Vista’s Keith Quigley is now the Sweetwater district’s longest-tenured roller hockey coach. He has coached the Barons since their inception.
“As always in this long time rivalry, the Bonita Vista- Hilltop games are always a true battle out there on the rink,” Quigley explained. “We really got pumped up for this game because we definitely felt we could hang with Hilltop and knew it was a big divisional game. It was a well-played game between both teams. Both teams really got after it for all three periods. We really put forth our best effort of this young season in this game against Hilltop. My team gave it all they got and that's all I can ask for as a coach.”
“Ever since I started coaching, I've always had trouble playing against Bonita,” Hilltop coach George Godinez said. “Keith (Quigley) is a great coach and has a great coaching method. His team plays very well defensively.”
Raiders pick up first win of 2015-16 season
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 18, 2015 – Angel Bonilla scored the game-winning goal in the third period to help lift the Southwest Raiders to a 2-1 South Bay League victory against the Mar Vista Mariners. Alex Flores got the scoring going with a goal in the first period for Southwest while Eloy Rodriguez scored for Mar Vista in the second period to tie the contest.
The Raiders emerged with the win on clutch goaltending by Mariana Cornel in the dying minutes.
“It was a really good game,” Southwest head coach Jerry Nestlerode explained. “Both teams played well. It was a fun game to be involved with because it was a closely-played game between two teams. It was also a rivalry game between the teams that made it fun.”
The Mariners hit the post in the final five seconds that could have sent the game into overtime.
“Mar Vista had a bunch of near-misses in the final five minutes,” Nestlerode said. “Our goalie played a phenomenal game.”
The Raiders were the last team in the 17-team conference to pick up a win to face off the 2015-16 season.
“I think it's a great start to the season,” Nestlerode explained. “I think every team has at least one win. Before going into the winter break every team has one win, so it should set up a very exciting second half of the season.”
Cirignano's seven goals doom Red Devils in South Bay League match-up
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 18, 2015 – Marvin Cirignano scored seven goals to highlight Castle Park's 7-3 South Bay League win over Sweetwater. The Trojans (2-1 in league, 2-3 overall) led, 4-1, after the first period and 5-3 after the second period.
Armando Rivera led the Red Devils (0-3 in league, 1-4 overall) with a goal and assist.
Cirignano leads Castle Park with 11 goals on the season.
Lancers tip Spartans, 4-3, in non-league contest
CASTLE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Dec. 18, 2015 – The Hilltop Lancers handed the Chula Vista Spartans their first loss of the season in a non-league nail-biter. The teams were tied, 1-1, through the first period and deadlocked at two goals apiece entering the final period.
Andrew Tesner and Danny Godinez connected on Hilltop's opening three goals while Kristen Lambertson scored the game-winner, assisted by Eduardo Arguello. It was Lambertson's first goal of the season -- and a notable one.
Hector Garcia led Chula Vista (4-1) with two goals while Giovani Cimmino scored once. Cruz Salas finished the game with 15 saves for the Spartans.
The Lancers improved to 3-2 entering the winter break. Tesner leads Hilltop with nine goals.
North County Report:
Defending Kiwanis Cup champion Broncos lasso rivals for 43-game winning streak
The Rancho Bernardo Broncos are in the midst of a 43-game winning streak dating over parts of the past three seasons.
The two-time defending Kiwanis Cup champion Broncos finished 20-2 to cap the 2013-14 season and became only the second team in CIF-Metro Conference history to post an undefeated season when they successfully defended their conference championship with a 20-0 finish in 2014-15.
Rancho Bernardo is off to a 4-0 start in 2015-16. That's 43 consecutive wins all tallied up.
Scripps Ranch finished 22-0 to cap the 2003-04 season.
“As far as how our first four games have gone to start the season, I'm very happy,” RBHS coach Joe Gelsomino explained over the winter break. “ I'm happy not only with the team at RB but with the other teams we played. Besides St Augustine (a 17-0 blowout to face off the season on Nov. 30), the games have been very close.
“Escondido Charter is a very formidable opponent as is Scripps Ranch and Westview.”
The Broncos skated past Westview, 3-1, on Dec. 7 to face off North County League play and then defeated conference newcomer Escondido Charter, 10-3, on Dec. 10 to imporve to 2-0 in league play. RB went into the winter break 4-0 after slipping past Scripps Ranch by a score of 4-2 in a non-league game on Dec. 14.
Gelsomino attributes his team's strong start to standout play by goaltender Jakob Ogan as well as the defensive scoring threat from the tandem of Ryan Wilson and Bailey Ridout. The Broncos coach added that freshman forward Miles Cook is “scoring goals at key times.”
“We aren't as dominant as last season but we still have a very highly skilled team,” Gelsomino said. “We're looking forward to getting back to playing next week!”
Rancho Bernardo faces off the second half of the season with a non-league game against Escondido Charter on Monday, Jan. 4, at the Escondido Sports Center's east rink at 6 p.m.
Defending Kiwanis Cup champion Broncos remain undefeated in new season
ESCONDIDO SPORTS CENTER, Dec. 14 -- Ryan Wilson netted two goals and Brendan O'Rourke added a goal and an assist to lead the defending Kiwanis Cup champion Rancho Bernardo Broncos to a 4-2 non-league win over the Scripps Ranch Falcons at Kit Carson Park.Matt Holmes had the other Bronco tally and Bailey Ridout notched two Assists as the Broncos improved to 4-0 on the season. Jakob Ogan turned away 13 shots on the night for Rancho Bernardo, which outshot the Falcons 27-15 on the evening.
The game featured Wilson against Scripps Ranch standout Jesse Lycan, though the Falcons were hindered by a short bench with one player injury and another out of the line-up due to an ice hockey commitment. Lycan matched Wilson with two goals in the game.
The Broncos were one-for-two on power plays and stayed out of the penalty box.
Rancho Bernardo finished 20-0 last season and remains undefeated to start this season.
In games played during the week at the Escondido Sports Center:
Wolverines claw Saintsmen, win 14-1 in non-league battle
ESCONDIDO SPORTS CENTER, Dec. 14, 2015 – The Westview Wolverines started the pace off slow with three first-period goals but ended their non-league encounter against the St. Augustine Saints with a flourish by racking up 11 goals in the ensuing two periods to post a 14-1 victory. The win raised the Wolverines' record to 3-2 while the Saints saw their early second record dip to 2-2-1.
Josh Groll had a big night on the scoresheet with nine points on three goals and six assists while Jacob Groll collected three goals and three assists. Keisi Tayaka had three goals and one assist while Lyusen Loshak contributed two goals and one assist, Ian Bellin scored twice and Dallas Oleson and Laurent Lee both chipped in with a goal and assist.
Nick Heid scored the lone goal for St. Augustine.
Greg Olynichenko made five saves on six shots while Johnny Bartel had 17 saves on 31 shots.
Poway 9, Escondido Charter 5:
Big night by Herrman propels Titans to win over White Tigers
ESCONDIDO SPORTS CENTER, Dec. 14, 2015 – The Titans picked up their second win of the season – and first in North County League play -- on the strength of a nine-point performance (eight goals, one assist) by junior Rory Herrman. Poway led, 3-1, at the end of the opening period but burst through with six goals in the second period to build a commanding 9-2 lead.
Brett Kaufman tacked on a goal and two assists while Jeffery Bauer added an assist. Christian Woolfe had 17 saves on 22 shots to earn the win in the net.
Blake Woods led the White Tigers with two goals while teammates Jono Pecoraro and Evan Medieros each had a goal and assist. Joey Mendoza scored once while Ashton Domi contributed one assist. Bryce Mendoza made 13 saves on 22 shots.
Both teams are 2-4 on the season.
Herrman, a talented ice hockey player with the Jr. Ducks 16U-AAA team, leads the Titans with 17 goals and 23 points in four games played.
Falcons use strong middle period to power to 11-5 win over Titans
ESCONDIDO SPORTS CENTER, Dec. 16 – Poway High School senior Rory Herrman is a man among boys. Herman scored a hat trick in the first period against Scripps Ranch while his Ducks ice hockey teammate Jesse Lycan had two goals as the Herman-led Titans clung to a 3-2 lead.
The game then opened up with the Falcons scoring six goals in the second period to the Titans’ single goal en route to claiming an eventual 11-5 non-league victory. Herrman scored all five goals (and four penalties) for Poway with Liam Garry chipping in with two assists.
For Scripps Ranch, Lycan finished the game with four goals and one assist; Cody Sherman three goals and one assist; Stewart Pond had one goal and three assists; and Matt Gauthier contributed two goals. Backup goaltender Jacob Ayers, a freshman, got the win for the Falcons while entering the game to start the second period.
Both Poway and Scripps Ranch are 2-3 on the season.
White Tigers maul Wolverines, win by 9-2 score in league match-up
ESCONDIDO SPORTS CENTER, Dec. 16, 2015 – Escondido Charter raced out to a 7-0 lead en route to claiming a 9-2 North County League victory against Westview. Jono Pecoraro racked up four goals and one assist to lead the White Tigers while Joey Mendoza collected one goal and four assists.
Blake Woods added two goals and one assist for the winners while Evan Medieros tacked on one goal and one assist. Ashton Domi was credited with one goal while Bryce Mendoza stopped 20 of 22 shots to earn the goaltending victory.
Jacob Groll led the Wolverines with a goal and assist while Dallas Oleson picked up one goal. Greg Oleynichenko made 20 saves on 29 shots for Westview.
Dons close out first half with 12-0 shutout win over Saints
ESCONDIDO SPORTS CENTER, Dec. 16, 2015 – Cathedral Catholic closed out the first half of the season with a 12-0 Central League victory against the St. Augustine Saints in the teams’ ongoing Holy Cup rivalry series. Sam Angeles led the Dons with five goals while Sam Lathus collected five points on four goals and one assist. John Leone scored one goal and picked up three assists while Drew Jones had one goal and two assists. Kyle Riddenspurger contributed three assists while Michael Valeriano was credited with one assist.
Cathedral Catholic led 3-0 at the end of the first period, 5-0 at the end of the second period and tacked on seven goals in the third period to close out the game. Patrick Henson blocked all 13 shots he faced to record the shutout win. The Dons out-shot the Saints 30-13.
CIF-Metro Conference Scoreboard
Monday, Dec. 14
Sweetwater 5, Castle Park 4 (OT)
West Hills 23, Bonita Vista 0
Cathedral Catholic at Eastlake, postponed
Westview 14, St. Augustine 1
Rancho Bernardo 4, Scripps Ranch 2
North County League
Poway 9, Escondido Charter 5
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Eastlake 6, Hilltop 5
Otay Ranch 10, Bonita Vista 0
Chula Vista 7, Mar Vista 3
Wednesday, Dec. 16
South Bay League
Chula Vista 10, Sweetwater 2
Mar Vista 9, Castle Park 2
North County League
Escondido Charter 9, Westview 2
Cathedral Catholic 12, St. Augustine 0
Scripps Ranch 11, Poway 5
Thursday, Dec. 17
Hilltop 3, Bonita Vista 1
Otay Ranch 8, Eastlake 7
Friday, Dec. 18
Hilltop 4, Chula Vista 3
South Bay League
Castle Park 7, Sweetwaterr 3
Southwest 2, Mar Vista 1
Gulls keep drawing large crowds, keep winning streak alive
The American Hockey League San Diego Gulls entered the Christmas break on a three-game winning streak after posting a home ice win over San Jose Dec. 18 and a road win at Ontario on Dec. 19. The new San Diego pro hockey franchise continues to draw fans – and near-sellout crowds to the Valley View Casino Center.
The return of call-ups to the parent NHL club in Anaheim has helped re-solidify a Gulls squad that at one time had suffered through a six-game losing streak.
The Gulls rewarded their fans with an appropriately timed Christmas present: a 4-1 win over arch rival Ontario on Dec. 26 to push thier winning streak to four games.
GULLS UPEND REIGN 4-1 FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN
Khudobin makes 29 saves while Mueller scores go-ahead goal
SAN DIEGO, Dec. 26 – Chris Mueller broke a 1-1 tie with 4:37 remaining in the second period and the San Diego Gulls (15-10-0-1) never looked back en route to securing a 4-1 victory over the Ontario Reign in front of 11,078 fans at Valley View Casino Center. The Gulls beat the AHL Western Conference leaders for the fourth straight game in their 12-game season series, and also picked up their fourth straight win overall.
Mueller and Joseph Cramarossa had a goal and assist on the game, while Anton Khudobin made 29 saves to win his third consecutive game in net for San Diego. Nic Kerdiles and Mike Sgarbossa also scored for the Gulls, who improved to 9-2-0-1 at home.
The resumption of play after the AHL holiday break brought a ragged first period in the early minutes, with both teams trying to regain their rhythm on the ice. When the Reign (16-5-2-1) saw Kris Newbury sent to the penalty box for a cross-check 3:54 into the period, the Gulls were able to put their top-ranked power play unit on the ice. Halfway into the man advantage, Kerdiles deflected home a Shea Theodore shot at 4:54 for his seventh goal of the year and sixth on the power play.
The first goal of the game was not insignificant: San Diego improved to 12-0-0-1 when netting first; the Reign are 13-0-1-0 when they get the game’s first goal. The Gulls’ 27th power play goal of the season is the second-most in the AHL (Albany Devils, 29).
Ontario had an answer just after the period’s halfway point, with Justin Auger fooling Khudobin on a near-post sharp angle shot to tie the game 1-1 at 10:03.
The second period saw Ontario out-shoot the Gulls 13-6 and take the ice for a four-minute high-sticking minor, but they could not solve Khudobin or the San Diego defense. During a brief four-on-four skating situation, the Gulls’ Cramarossa took the action to the Reign with a high-speed entry into the zone on right wing. While goalie Peter Budaj was able to stop Cramarossa’s bid, Mueller was there to clean up the loose puck at the edge of the crease for a 2-1 San Diego lead at 15:23 in the second.
The Gulls built their advantage in the third behind Sgarbossa, who roofed a shot off the bottom of the crossbar behind Budaj and across the goal line at 6:49 for a 3-1 lead. Stefan Noesen and Nick Ritchie picked up assists on the goal; for Ritchie, his home scoring streak extended to nine consecutive games.
Ontario’s Kurtis MacDermid was sent off with a match penalty for a check to the head of San Diego center Matt Bailey with 11:56 remaining in the third period. While the Gulls failed to score on the ensuing five-minute major, the Reign were never able to regain their offensive thrust, eventually bowing despite a 30-21 shots advantage. Cramarossa’s empty-net goal concluded the scoring at 18:15.
The Gulls return to home ice on Friday, Feb. 8, following a road game Dec. 27 in Bakersfield.
GULLS WORK LATE FOR THIRD STRAIGHT WIN
Mike Sgarbossa’s shootout game-winner lifts San Diego to 3-2 win over Ontario
ONTARIO, Calif., Dec. 19 – Mike Sgarbossa’s shootout goal closed out a San Diego Gulls’ 3-2 overtime victory against the Ontario Reign, watched by 8,535 at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Nick Ritchie, who scored both Gulls goals in regulation, added a shootout tally as San Diego (14-10-0-1) held off the Reign (15-4-2-1) 2-0 in the shootout round, posting their third consecutive win overall and third straight over the Pacific Division leaders.
Making his second consecutive start in net since being assigned to the Gulls by the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, goalie Anton Khudobin made 27 saves in regulation and overtime, then stopped both Ontario shootout bids to secure the win.
The Reign’s “Teddy Bear Toss Night” opened with fans anticipating their chance to toss teddies on the ice for charity. With the toss scheduled for Ontario’s first goal, the Gulls upset the applecart and delayed the frenzy by tallying first instead. Ritchie picked up his sixth power play goal of the season on assists from Brandon Montour and Chris Mueller at 11:22 to put San Diego on top 1-0.
The goal checked three important boxes for the Gulls: the first goal, a power play goal and a Nick Ritchie goal. San Diego improved to 11-0-0-1 when scoring first, 12-4-0-1 when scoring on the power play, and 8-0-0-1 when Ritchie scores a goal.
Ontario would unleash the teddy torrent with 3:32 remaining in the first period, when Justin Auger picked up a turnover off a fanned shot in the offensive zone, building a 3-on-2 rush which he finished solo for his fifth goal of the year and a 1-1 tie.
Ritchie would have the answer once again for the Gulls just over four minutes into the second period, working off the strong forecheck of Stefan Noesen to put home the rebound of his own shot for his eleventh goal of the season at 4:11.
With Khudobin standing strong and the Gulls killing off all six Ontario power plays, the lead was preserved until late in the third period, when fortune smiled on the hosts. With Ontario’s net empty and a sixth attacker on the ice, Kris Newbury picked up a loose puck behind the San Diego end line and deflected the puck off Khudobin’s blocker at an angle and into the net for the equalizer with just 24 seconds remaining on the clock.
In sudden-death overtime, Gulls forward Max Friberg continued a hard-working blue-collar game by drawing a holding penalty to give San Diego a power play in the game’s final two minutes. A late call against San Diego’s Shea Theodore with 18 seconds left in OT nudged the game toward its shootout conclusion.
Ritchie opened the shootout with a goal, then saw Khudobin stop Sean Backman and Newbury consecutively. Sgarbossa’s goal, his second shootout goal of the year, sealed the victory. San Diego won both of their weekend back-to-back games in extra time, beating San Jose 3-2 in overtime on Friday. The Gulls improved to a .580 points percentage, good for second-place in the AHL Pacific Division and sixth place in the Western Conference.
The San Diego Gulls will now enjoy the holiday break before returning to home ice on Saturday, Dec. 26, when they host the Reign for a 7 p.m. faceoff at Valley View Casino Center.
NOESEN LIFTS GULLS PAST BARRACUDA 3-2 IN OVERTIME
Winger’s second goal of game leads San Diego to victory
SAN DIEGO, Dec. 18 – Stefan Noesen’s redirection goal 3:11 into sudden death overtime gave the San Diego Gulls a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Barracuda in front of 9,421 at Valley View Casino Center. Noesen, who went without a goal in his first 22 games with the Gulls (13-10-0-1), has now scored three goals in his past two games.
Anton Khudobin, in his first game with the Gulls after being assigned by the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, stopped 30 shots in net for his first win with San Diego. Shea Theodore also scored for San Diego, while Brandon Montour and Shane O’Brien each recorded a pair of assists.
The Gulls’ first “Teddy Bear Toss” night brought a spirited crowd to the arena, and sparked a premature celebration when the Gulls came close to scoring in the final second of the first period. The teddies rained down despite a video review of no goal, and on preliminary count more 15,000 bears were collected via the San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Drive for Rady Children’s Hospital.
Still scoreless into the second period, the Barracuda (9-10-1-3) netted first on counter-attack, as San Jose picked up a loose puck in the San Diego zone, which turned into a 3-on-2 rush. The trailer Karl Stollery fired high over Khudobin’s shoulder for the game’s first goal at 7:51.
The Gulls, who had lost the past eight times they allowed the first goal, were quick to find an answer behind the AHL’s top power play unit. San Jose’s John McCarthy was sent off for slashing with 5:41 remaining in the period, and Theodore’s shot from outside the left circle found the back of the net through traffic for his fourth goal of the year.
Less than two minutes later, the Gulls found themselves on top after a Barracuda hooking penalty on Ryan Carpenter. Noesen tipped home his first of the night on assists from Nick Ritchie and O’Brien. Ritchie’s point extended his home-ice point streak to eight consecutive games.
San Jose found the equalizer in the third period on a well-executed counter-rush down the ice, with Petter Emanuelsson’s cross-ice pass perfectly weighted for Nikolai Goldobin, who lifted his fifth goal of the year top shelf over Khudobin to knot the contest at two apiece 12:16 into the final frame.
The Gulls, who killed all four San Jose power plays while scoring twice on seven attempts, managed to hold off a late Barracuda man advantage that carried into sudden-death overtime. After killing the penalty, the ice strength remained four-on-four throughout almost three tense minutes that saw not a single whistle to stop the puck. In the end, O’Brien connected with Montour at center ice, who rushed the zone from left wing. He held beyond the end line before finding Noesen net-front for a quick redirection and a Gulls sudden death winner, their fifth win after regulation time this season.