Pacific Cup Finals recap by Phillip Brentz

by Daryn Goodwin

The 2020-21 NARCh season officially came to a close Sept. 10-12 at The Rinks-Irvine as the relaunched Pacific Cup Roller Hockey Series championships rolled to a stop. Sixty-five teams took part in 11 age groups.Awards were presented in 18 sub-divisions. A total of 151 games were played over the three-day course of the event.The Pacific Cup tournament series was among the few events that took pace during the pandemic that actually spanned parts of the 2020 and 2021 calendars. 

The series faced off in December 2020 in Arizona and eventually made its way to California once rinks were able to reopen safely under COVID-19 protocol.  The turnout for the finals tournament drew teams from throughout California and Arizona and even from as far away as Oregon, Nevada and even the Midwest.

“The count was actually perfect,” NARCh president Daryn Goodwin said. “It was completely full for the time we had, starting after school Friday and a completely full weekend running all three rinks.”The six youth divisions attracted 33 teams and the five adult divisions included 32 teams in an almost even 50-50 split. “Men's participation and interest continues to grow,” Goodwin said. “We also had some teams from outside markets. One team was basically from Mexico, one from Chicago, Vegas, Arizona, etc.

Pro Division
Five teams competed for elite championship honors: ESW Cows, Kamagraf, Pama Labeda Golden Knights, Rink Rat and Skittles. The Golden Knights finished first in the round-robin standings with a 3-0-1 record (tying Rink Rat 3-3), followed by the Cows at 2-1-1 (tying Skittles 4-4), Skittles at 2-1-1, Rink Rat a 1-2-1 and Kamagraf at 0-4. The Golden Knights received the top seed, the Cows the second seed, Skittles the third seed and Rink Rat the fourth seed.The Golden Knights doubled up Rink Rat by a score of 4-2 in the first semifinal while Skittles upended the Cows by the same score. 

The Golden Knights would dominate the championship game against Skittles, winning 8-1.Round-robin leaders included Grayson Yada and Jaden Guzman of Skittles with nine points apiece, Bryce Nielson of the Cows and Yada with five goals apiece, Yada and Guzman with four assists apiece, Cows netminder Mike Erving with an 0.854 save percentage and Kamagraf goaltender Blake Ducker with 67 saves. Erving and Skittles goaltender Charlie Robinson both notched two wins. The Golden Knights swept the playoff leader board with Travis Noe (seven goals), Brett Olinger (three assists) and Clay Taylor (0.885 save percentage, two playoff wins). Robinson collected 42 saves to lead in that category.

8U Division
Five teams competed for berths in the Gold Final (two teams) and Silver Final (two teams).The Raider Jets and Mavin Rockets both finished 2-0-1 in round-robin to top the four teams in the standings and advance to the Gold Final.  AKS (2-2 in round-robin) and the Wildcats (1-3 in round-robin) qualified for the Silver Final.  The Oregon Rollin Reign finished 0-4 to miss the playoff round.The Rockets pounded out 6-1, 12-0 and 13-4 wins in round-robin while the Raider Jets reeled off 9-3, 10-5 and 9-1 wins.  But neither team could defeat the other as they played to a scoreless tie.That would change in the Gold Final as the Rockets won 4-1 over the Raider Jets. 

The Wildcats clawed AKS by a score of 5-1 to win the Silver Final.The Wildcats' Ben van Houton dominated round-robin play with 15 goals and 16 points as the division high scorer while Jacob Weaver of the Raider Jets registered a 0.667 save percentage and three goaltender wins.Van Houten had three points in the playoffs, including a pair of goals along with the Rockets' Kyan Tosczak and Wildcats teammate Mason Hillegonds. The Rockets' Jake Johnson and the Wildcats' Rylan Scott posted identical 0.833 save percentages to go with a playoff win apiece.

10U Division
Six teams participated in the division.  The Goonies and Orange Crush both finished 3-0 in round-robin play to advance to the Gold Final while the Arizona Junior Wildcats, Bulldogs, Oregon Rollin Reign and Tour Raiders HC all qualified for the Silver semifinals.  The Bulldogs finished 2-1 in round-robin play, with their only loss being 3-2 to Orange Crush. The Wildcats finished 1-2 with losses to the Goonies (5-1) and Bulldogs (7-2) while the Raiders and Reign both finished 0-3 in round-robin.The Bulldogs eliminated the Raiders, 6-3, in the first semifinal while the Wildcats edged the Reign, 4-3, to join them in the finals. The Goonies skated past Orange Crush, 7-5, to win the Gold Division championship while the Wildcats muzzled the Bulldogs by a score of 5-2 to capture the Silver Division championship.

Zander Resendez of the Goonies earned division high scorer award with 11 points through round-robin play while Liam Becker of Orange Crush secure top goaltender honors with an .879 save percentage and three wins.  Tristan Stoneking of the Raiders racked up 127 goaltender saves in an heroic effort to place runner-up with an 0.852 save percentage. Molina raced through the playoffs with five goals and seven points while Wildcats netminder Keoni Weir registered an 0.828 save percentage and a pair of playoff wins.

12U Division
This division also featured five teams: AZ Junior Wildcats, Bulldogs, Labeda Jets, Oregon Rollin Reign and Stray Cats. The Jets finished 4-0 to top the round-robin standings, followed by the Stray Cats at 3-1, Wildcats at 2-2, Reign at 1-3 and Bulldogs at 0-The Jets and Stray Cats both advanced to the Gold Final while the Wildcats and Reign advanced to the Silver Final.  The Jets roared past the Stray Cats, 4-1, to win the Gold Final while the Wildcats padded past the Reign, 3-2, to win the Silver Final. Tyler Sandstrom of the Stray Cats strutted around the rink as division high scorer with seven points through round-robin while Keanu Gonzales of the Jets garnered top goaltender honors with an 0.896 save percentage and four wins. Cooper Miller of the Reign tied Sandstrom for most goals with six while Caden Abarquez of the Jets led with three assists. Gonzales posted the top playoff save percentage of 0.875 while Gavin Molina and Riley Peterson of the Junior Wildcats and Mikey Graheda of the Jets all notched two points.

14U Division
This division also featured five teams.  The Konixx Warriors and Konixx Outcasts both finished 3-1 in round-robin play to advance to the Gold Final. The Militia (2-2 in round-robin) and Bulldogs (2-2 in round-robin) both advanced to the Silver Final. The Tour Raiders HC finished 0-4 in round-robin play. The Warriors doubled up the Outcasts, 6-3, in the Gold Final while the Militia tamed the Bulldogs, 5-3, in the Silver Final.Blake Ford of the Warriors finished as division high scorer through round-robin with eight points while teammate Connor Ellis earned top goaltender honors with an .842 save percentage and three wins. Gunnar Kershaw of the Outcasts and the Blades triad of Hunter Yates, Liam Freeman and Nyle Patel all tied with six goals to top the division in that category.  

Cole Jacobson of the Outcasts led the division with five assists.  Playoff leaders included Max Silver and Sean Lohmeier of the Warriors each with two goals and four points apiece, Militia's Matthew Bertagni with three assists and Militia's Landon Bullockwith an .870 save percentage.

16U Division
Eight teams participated in this division, the largest of the six youth divisions. Gold and Silver semifinals took place to place teams in the Gold Final and Silver Final. Twelve round-robin games determined the standings as follows: San Diego Rockets (3-0), Des Moines Xplosion (2-1), Rink Rat Tricksters (2-1), Konixx Warriors (2-1), TRIX (1-2), Tour Raiders HC (1-2), Mission Renegades (0-3) and AZ Junior Wildcats (0-3).  The Rockets, Xplosion, Tricksters and Warriors advanced to the Gold semifinals – all with winning round-robin records. 

Team advancing to the Silver semifinals included the TRIX, Raiders, Renegades and Wildcats. The Warriors edged the Tricksters, 2-1, in the first Gold semifinal while the Rockets' red glare resulsted in a 3-2 win over the Xplosion.TRIX rocketed off the launch pad with a 9-3 win over the Wildcats while Renegades blanked the Raiders by a 6-0 score to conclude the Silver semifinals.The Rockets blasted past the Warriors with a 2-0 victory in the Gold Final while TRIX locked up the Renegades, 7-1, in the Silver Final. 

Round-robin leaders included Landon Kooker of Xplosion with 11 points and six assists, Colton Clapham of the Rockets with eight goals, Kat Reyes of the Warriors with a .957 save percentage and the Rockets' Ella Woo with three goaltender victories. Playoff leaders included the TRIX trio of Logan Baum, Trevor Lewis and Seth Gale. Baum and Lewis tied with six points while Gale notched four goals and Lewis tallied five assists. However, Woo earned top honors between the pipes with a 0.939 save percentage to go with two playoff wins.

18U Division
Four teams competed for supremacy in this division. Round-robin standings were as follows to seed the semifinals: Pura (2-0-1), Warriors (2-1), Kamagraf (1-1-1) and Outcasts (0-3). Top-seeded Pura shut out the Outcasts, 2-0, in the first semifinal while the Warriors out-scored Kamagraf by two goals, 6-4, in the second semifinal. That set up the division championship game between Pura and the Warriors. Pura won 5-2 to sweep through the bracket undefeated.Colton Clapham of Kamagraf finished as division high scorer with six goals through round-robin while teammate Seth Miszkiewicz earned top goaltender honors with an 0.879 save percentage.

Dillon Bilek of the Warriors paced playoff scorers with five points and three assists while teammate Logan Wise and Pura's Nathan Hana both potted three goals to top the division. Jack Lyon of Pura posted a 0.913 save percentage and a pair of wins to lead his team to the gold medal.

Women's Division
Four teams participated: the Lady Yotes, Mavin Valkyrie, Pama Labeda Golden Knights and Vanquish. Round-robin play preceded teams advancing to the Platinum Final and Gold Final.The Golden Knights went 3-0 in three round-robin games with two shutouts to earn a berth in the Platinum Final where they were joined by Vanquish, which posted a 2-1 round-robin record with an 8-0 mercy-rule victory. The Lady Yotes finished 1-2 in round-robin play, followed by Main Valkyrie at 0-3.  Both of those teams advanced to the Gold Final.

The Golden Knights won platinum with a 2-1 victory to finish 4-0 in the division while Mavin Valkyrie departed the tournament with one win, claiming it at the right time to win gold with a hard-fought 1-0 victory. Celeste Loyatho of Vanquish paced division scorers with seven points and six assists through round-robin while teammate Daniella Dror led the division with three goals. Lea Armendariz of the Golden Knights led division goaltenders with a 0.947 save percentage and three wins.Playoff leaders included Nicole Giannino of the Golden Knights with two goals and Leah Erkel of Valkyrie with a 1.000 save percentage.

Men's Platinum Division
Five teams vied for the gold medal. Labeda Purple Haze finished unbeaten in round-robin play with a 3-0-1 record, followed by Shadows and Dolomite at 2-1-1.  The Westcoast Cottonmouths finished 1-3 while the West Coast Snipers managed a tie in four trips to the floor.The semifinals featured Purple Haze asthe top seed, Shadows as the second seed, Dolomite as the third seed and the Cottonmouths as the fourth seed. Purple Haze defeated the Cottonmouths, 8-5, while Shadows defeated Dolomite 6-1. 

Shadows scored a 6-1 upset win over Purple Haze to win the gold medal in the division. The gold medalists finished their two playoff games with a decisive 12-2 goal-differential.  Drew Downey of Purple Haze finished as the division high scorer with seven goals and eight points through round-robin while Jordan Marr of Shadows led the field with five assists.  Marcus Vertun of Dolomite posted an 0.836 save percentage as the top goaltender while Jeff Bartholomew of Purple Haze paced division goaltenders in round-robin play with three wins and 52 saves. Jordan Marr and Justin Marr paced division scorers in the playoff with five points each. Grayson Nuti of the Cottonmouths led the playoff field with four goals.  Andrew Skowron of Shadows shut the door on the team's two playoff opponents with a 0.938 save percentage and a pair of wins.

Men's Gold/Silver/Bronze
This was the largest division in the tournament with 14 teams and it was ultimately split into three divisions for awards purposes. It took 11 playoff games to determine the three champions. In the Gold Final, CPS Express defeated the Westside Boyz 8-2. In the Silver Final, Kamagraf Mayhem topped the California Rollers 6-1. In the Bronze Final, the Lot Dogs defeated Mavin 4-2.

Trey Decker of Kamagraf Mayhem finished as division high scorer with eight goals and 10 points through round-robin while Matt Dunton of Tour OC MudPura proved nearly unbeatable as the division top goaltender with a 0.977 save percentage and three wins. Playoff leaders included Matthew Gauthier of Mavin with six goals and Kenny Eakle of CPS Express with an 0.875 save percentage.  Ron Best, formerly of CSU Fullerton in the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League, posted a runner-up save percentage of 0.857 to post a pair of playoff wins along with Kamagraf Mayhem goaltender Brett Bushnell (formerly of the University of Arizona/WCRHL).

Men's 40 & Older
Four teams participated, resulting in round-robin play, two semifinals and a championship game. The Pama Labeda Golden Knights went undefeated in round-robin to earn the No. 1 seed while the California Beach Boys finished 2-1 to earn the No. 2 seed. Kamagraf (1-2 in round-robin) received the No. 3 seed while the Fat Tires (0-3 in round-robin) received the No. 4 seed.  The Golden Knights flattened the Fat Tires, 9-1, in the first semifinal while the Beach Boys surfed over Kamagraf, sinking them by a score of 6-0.

The top two teams in the division round their way to the championship game. The Golden Knights had posted a 4-2 win in the teams' round-robin matchup.  The Golden Knights won the title rematch against the Beach Boys 4-1 to finish undefeated (4-0) in the division. Glenn Evans topped all division scorers in round-robin with six goals while Golden Knights teammate Jason Freeman paced division goaltenders with an 0.848 save percentage and three wins. Tim Tobin of the Beach Boys had the most saves with 32. Playoff leaders included the Golden Knights' Brin Morris with three goals and four points, Eddie Limbaga (Golden Knights) with three assists, Freeman with two goaltender wins and Tobin with an 0.882 save percentage and 30 saves.

Back to the rink
The Pacific Cup series relaunch has warranted an encore season.  Plans are to face off the 2021-22 season Oct. 22-24 at Corona Inline.  Age groups for the new season include 8U (2013/14 birth year), 10U (2011/12 birth year), 12U (2009/10 birth year), 14U (2007/08 birth year), 16U (2005/06 birth year), 18U (2003/04 birth year) and 21U (born 2000 or later). Corona Inline is located at 4325 Prado Road, #101, in Corona.For more information, visit the website at