CIF championship victory slips away from varsity boys inline hockey team
March 4, 2016
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Spotlighted by the luminous LED lights dangling from the ceiling of Kit Carson Park’s hockey rink, the Cathedral Catholic High School boys varsity inline hockey team appeared like flying apparitions of red and gold accentuated by the reflective white plastic-tiled surface beneath their skates.
However, CCHS appeared overmatched by the capabilities of the Westview High School during Wednesday night’s CIF championship match, eventually falling 13-3 to the Wolverines.
“Westview had great momentum,” Head Coach Mr. Luke Storno said. “They ended up having a great breakout, and we were having difficulty matching up against that. It took us a little too long in the first period to start catching up.”
The path to the CIF championships was turbulent for CCHS.
Less than four weeks ago, Rancho Bernardo High School topped CCHS 6-4, but the underdog CCHS revisited the RBHS in the semifinals last Monday, winning 6-3.
There seemed to be newfound hope for the CCHS, which appeared poised for a quick 45-minute victory last night after Andrew Jones ’17 tacked on the first point two-and-a-half minutes into the game.
But the event took a steep backward for the CCHS five minutes into the game when WHS player Josh Groll scored the team’s first goal. Groll added another goal less than a minute later, pushing the score to 2-1.
The Dons would not regain the lead position for the rest of the match.
“We had a slow start,” Coach Storno said. “We ended up getting caught on a couple of goals. When we got rattled, it was hard for us to bounce back.
“We got caught flat on out backs and the boys struggled to get back up and into the game.”
After CCHS players Kyle Riddlesburger ’16 and Adam Stocker ’16 attempted several failed shots, WHS player Josh Morrison scored the Wolverines its third point with 4:08 left in the first period. Morrison came back and scored two more goals, and a tripping penalty given to Andrew Jones elapsed to and concluded the first period.
The Wolverines held a 5-1 lead over the Dons at that point.
“I think preparation wise, we were fine,” CCHS player William Devaney ’16 said. “We just didn’t bring it today, and we weren’t that focused. We played pretty well throughout the season, but we just blew it [Wednesday night].”
The Wolverines immediately took control after Groll scored a goal 36 seconds in to the second period .
Songs such as “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Give it Away Now,” and “Welcome to the Jungle” seemed to mock the Dons when played over the loudspeakers every time a point was scored by the Wolverines.
Forty-two seconds after Groll’s point addition, CCHS goalie Patrick Henson ’18 failed to block a shot made by WHS player Dallas Oleson.
Morrison came back and scored a goal with 11:27 on the board, racking the score up to 8-1.
Although CCHS was rolling at a fast pace, its sights were set on winning the CIF championship instead of paying attention to the gameplay, and as a result, the plays that were made by the Dons during much of the second period were choppy and inconsistent.
On the other hand, the WHS incorporated skill and stealth that wasn’t applied by the Dons.
“Our focus could’ve been better,” Coach Storno said. “We started to implode and we put our focus in the wrong areas.”
After a six-minute expansion, Morrison scored last goal of the second period for WHS.
Following two tripping penalties, Jones ’17 returned focus, closing out the second period by scoring two goals for CCHS, raising the score 9-3.
This would be the last time CCHS would score for the night, and overall, Jones ’17 was the only player to score for the Dons.
“We had a small moment during the second period when we started gaining momentum back, but at that point, it seemed like the damage was already done,” Coach Storno said. “I would say Jones was definitely an influence as far as [Wednesday night’s] game.
“Was he the star athlete? I don’t think so. There isn’t anyone who I would say was a star athlete.”
The third period began and ended with a bang, but largely progressed in a slow manner nonetheless.
Oleson added on a goal with 12:34 on the board, and Morreson scored two goals a minute after Oleson. The rest of the period was spent fighting for possession of the puck and making failed shots.
Jones ’17 received another tripping penalty as did Morreson, and CCHS player Sam Angeles ’17 came close to scoring a goal with 1:37 left on the board, but WHS goalie Greg Oleynichenko blocked it.
With only seven-seconds left in the game, Morreson scored the contest’s final goal, bringing the final score to 13-3.
CCHS finished its season 15-6.
“The boys had a strong season this year,” Coach Storno said. “I’m proud of them as far as how we ended up making it to finals, but we just didn’t prepare enough for tonight’s game and it showed.”
Significantly, Wednesday night’s game was the last game seniors Stocker ’16, Riddlesburge’16, William Devaney, and John Leone will play for CCHS.
“I think the season was pretty fun,” Stocker ’16 said. “It was a good ride, and we came together at the end of the season and we made it to the championships. Hockey is a sport unlike any other.”