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By Zach Cavanagh
The Capistrano Unified School District’s combined high school hockey team—the Capistrano Coyotes—made program history on Monday, April 19, as the team competed in its first national championship game.
In the USA Hockey High School Division II National Championship in Omaha, Nebraska, the Coyotes went out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, but the hometown Omaha Junior Lancers pushed back to force overtime, 4-4. Ten minutes into the extra session, Omaha scored off a faceoff to win the title, 5-4.
Capistrano went 4-1-1 overall in the tournament, with wins over teams from Kentucky, Utah, Colorado and Florida. The Coyotes qualified for the tournament by winning the CAHA High School Division 2A state championship in March.
Representing San Juan Hills on the Coyotes is senior forward Caden Bradford. Bradford posted one goal and three assists in the national tournament, including one in the title game. San Juan Hills senior forward Adam Benzan and sophomore forwards Jack Kovacs and Brenden Fields are also on the roster.
Capistrano’s leading point-scorer in the tournament was Dana Hills junior defenseman Quinton McElligott, and the Coyotes’ leading goal scorer was senior Nathan Brunelle, who attends the Capistrano Connections school.
The Capistrano Coyotes have four games remaining in their Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League season and returned to the ice on Thursday, April 22, against Orange Lutheran at Great Park Ice in Irvine. Results were not available at press time. The Coyotes play next against St. John Bosco on Saturday, April 24, at Great Park Ice.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.