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Senior all-star game caps eventful CIF-Metro roller hockey season Phillip Brents | Fri, Mar 16 2012 01:56 PM

The high school roller hockey season finally wrapped up following last Friday’s CIF-Metro Conference senior all-star game at Skate San Diego in National City.

The event served as an appropriate cap to the 2011-12 campaign that in previous weeks saw a new champion crowned in the Kiwanis/Don Cerone Memorial Cup tournament.

Last Friday’s event lived up to the high standards set throughout the 2011-12 season — one that will go on record as being the most competitive, and perhaps most exciting, in the conference’s 12-year history.

Otay Ranch coach Adrian Rodriguez, who set the standard for excellence during his high school playing career, organized this year’s all-star skills competition and all-star game along with Poway coach Kevin Ingram while Castle Park coach Patrick Johnson organized a coaches game that kicked off the festivities.

The coaches game featured 15 goals between the two teams. Each squad was comprised of six skaters and one goaltender.

“We put in a lot of hard work during the season, so it was a good time for us to go out and have fun,” said Johnson, who was given a roughing penalty late in the game. (Johnson plays with just one arm because of a birth defect.)

“It was a blast,” said Bonita Vista coach Keith Quigley. “I’ve played in four or five of them. I’m all for a coaches game at the end of the season.”

Southwest’s Jerry Nestlerode, the reigning South Bay League and CIF-Metro Conference Coach of the Year, back-stopped the winning team between the pipes.

“I think it’s great that our players can watch us and turn the tables for once and see all the mistakes we make,” Nestlerode said.

At 52, Scripps Ranch coach Bob Gauthier was one of the oldest players on the rink. “It’s an honor to play with guys who volunteer their time to help out high school roller hockey,” he said.

The evening, however, was ultimately reserved for the conference’s senior all-stars, who were divided into four teams based on league affiliation (South Bay League, Mesa League, Central League and North County League).

The skills competition included contests for fastest skater, top goaltender and top sniper.

Eastlake’s Darius Newhall won the top goaltender award by stopping nine of 10 shots.

Newhall, a three-time first team all-league selection and second team all-conference pick this season, played in more than 80 games during his four years with the Titans, reaching the Kiwanis Cup semifinals his freshman year and making three playoff appearances overall.

“It was a good run,” he said. “It wasn’t until I played in this game that it really hit me that this is my senior season.”

Rancho Bernardo’s Jake Troyer won the fastest skater award in 15.58 seconds while Westview’s Dylan Dixon won the top sniper award.

The game itself pitted the North County/South Bay League (Orange jerseys) against the Mesa/Central League (Navy jerseys). The result was a fairly evenly contested match-up on the floor though Southwest’s Sean Garcia and Eastlake’s Newhall combined to allow just one goal for the victorious Orange squad.

Bracing the Navy team between the pipes were Bonita Vista’s Nicole Tran and West Hills’ Garret Schilling. Tran came up big with three solid stops before Scripps Ranch’s electrifying duo of Jon Gauthier and Brandon Lopez — the CIF-Metro’s top scoring tandem this season — began to get rolling.

Tran was one of three females who participated in last Friday’s senior all-star event, joining BV teammate Cindy Flores and Sweetwater’s Jessica Flores.

Tran finished second in the top goaltender contest (stopping five of seven shots) while Cindy Flores wound up taking the first shot on goal for the Navy team in the game (a 10-1 victory for the Orange team).
Mac Pitts, who scored the game-winning goal in top-seeded Poway’s 6-5 Kiwanis Cup championship game victory over third-seeded Westview, was on the winning all-star team.

“Kevin Ingram and I were really glad that we did it,” Rodriguez said. “It was mainly about the kids. We knew that we had to have a senior all-star game because we didn’t have one last year. We just hope everyone enjoyed it and we are looking forward on making it bigger and better for the following seasons.”

Rodriguez would like to thank the event’s sponsors: Swinerton Builders, High5 Team Sales, Warrior, South Bay Boiler, Skate San Diego, Endless Love Tea Company and Goodfellas Barbershop.

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