By Zach Cavanagh

The JSerra hockey team added another cup to its trophy case, and now turns its attention towards the big time.

The Lions shut out Santa Margarita, 2-0, to clinch its first Shulman Cup and third Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League championship on March 9 at Great Park Ice in Irvine. By virtue of its state championship won on March 3, JSerra now advances to the USA Hockey National Championships in Cleveland on Thursday, March 28.

The ADHSHL title game was JSerra’s fifth win over Santa Margarita in five games this season, including the 2-1 overtime victory for the California Amateur Hockey Association title. Santa Margarita, who won the USA Hockey national title last season, also advances to nationals by playing in the state title game.

This will be JSerra’s fifth trip to the national tournament and second in a row. JSerra’s best finish at nationals was a run to the quarterfinals in 2016. Last season, the Lions only earned a shootout win along with two losses.

“When you get there, you’re going to be playing teams that are a lot better than what we face on a regular basis,” JSerra coach Jeff Noviello said. “They’re just going to have to play for each other and do the little things to succeed.”

Through that experience, JSerra knows the competition level it will face in the High School Division 1. It’s not the famed teams of the Minnesota state tournament, for example, but the competition is the best of the USA Hockey system.

“It’s the best of the rest,” Noviello said. “The true high school hockey in Minnesota and other areas, Wisconsin, New York. That’s a very high level. Their true varsity teams are AAA and beyond. The teams that represent Minnesota at Nationals can be their C teams. It’s still good competition, no question.”

California has proven itself to be part of the contending group for USA Hockey with two national championships by Santa Margarita, and JSerra wants to push itself up to the level of its rival.

The Lions have been led offensively by forward Blake Reed. Reed scored 23 goals and added 12 assists in ADHSHL play this season to be named the league’s offensive player of the year. Reed, defenseman Jacob Hager and goaltender Jack Ferletic were named to the Division 1 All-ADHSHL team.

JSerra begins the national tournament on March 28 against Pine Richland of Pennsylvania. The Lions play Pinnacle of Arizona on March 29 and take on Glenelg of Maryland on March 30.

All games will be available online for a fee at usahockey.hockeytv.com.

Capistrano Coyotes Win ADHSHL Division 2 Title

The Capistrano Coyotes, which represent the Capistrano Unified School District, defeated Pacific Ridge of Carlsbad, 5-0, for the ADHSHL Division 2 championship on March 9 at Great Park Ice in Irvine.

Players from Tesoro powered the title effort with two goals by ADHSHL MVP Zach Lane and a shutout by Garrett Kennedy, winner of the ADHSHL Citizenship Award.

Several San Juan Capistrano players were on the roster of the Coyotes. Cam and Jake Traverso represented San Juan Hills, Brandon Wong represented Serra High School, Jacob Posner and John Crafoord represented Capistrano Connections Academy and Brian MacDonald represented Opportunities for Learning.

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