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March 15, 2011

So Cal scholastic inline wrap-up: Part I

Part I: Central Coast High School Hockey League

Santa Barbara's Gad Gilring received the Central Coast High School Hockey League's 2010-11 award for top varsity scorer. Photo/Ivan Girling

The four longest continuously operating scholastic inline hockey leagues in Southern California recently wrapped up their championship playoffs.

The Central Coast High School Hockey League (CCHSHL) in the San Luis Obispo-Santa Barbara area, the Interscholastic Hockey Federation (IHF) in Orange County and Inland Empire and the San Diego County High School Roller Hockey Conference (SDCHSRHC) all crowned club champions as they approached their 15th anniversary seasons.

The San Diego County-based CIF-Metro Conference, the state’s only high school league sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation, concluded its history making 11th season.

Reigning as 2010-11 varsity champions in the three club leagues are the Santa Barbara Chargers (CCHSHL), Mission Viejo Diablos (IHF) and San Pasqual Golden Eagles (SDCHSRHC) while the Westview Wolverines won their fourth CIF title in their six years as members of the Metro Conference.

Championship finals took place in mid-February and early March.

California Rubber takes a look at the Central Coast High School Hockey League’s championship playoffs in the first of a series of three in-depth wrap-up reports.

Central Coast High School Hockey League

Varsity Finals
Joey Vitalari scored two goals and teammates Nick Okpysh and Gad Girling each contributed one goal and one assist in second-seeded Santa Barbara's 4-2 upset victory over the top-seeded San Luis Obispo Tigers. SLO was bidding to capture its fifth consecutive playoff championship title.

Three of the four teams in the modest league advanced to the playoffs, with semifinals and championship round games all held Feb. 12 at the Central Coast Sports Arena in Santa Maria. Santa Barbara met the third-seeded Paso Robles Predators in a semifinal match-up, with the winner advancing to challenge San Luis Obispo in the championship game.

SLO finished the regular season with a league-best 9-1 record, having defeated Santa Barbara twice in two meetings. Santa Barbara finished second in the regular season standings with a 6-4 record while Paso Robles finished third with a 5-5 record. The Arroyo Grande Skeleton Crew finished in last place in the league standings with a 0-10 record.

The SLO Tigers received a bye to the finals and there was some doubt which team they would face in the ensuing championship game. The semifinal match-up between Santa Barbara and Paso Robles was tight, with Santa Barbara pulling out a 5-4 victory as Vitalari and Okpysh each scored two goals while Girling, the league's top scorer in the regular season with 17 goals and 30 points, earned play-maker honors with three assists. Rori McMillin also chipped in with a goal and assist and goaltender Amado Hernandez made 23 saves on 27 shots.   

Pacing Paso Robles with three goals in the semifinal loss was Jackson Hollstein while Patrick Cook scored once, Luke Walsh had three assists and Chase McKinney had one assist.

The championship game pitted teams that had met in the final game of regular season play, with SLO scoring what league director Joe Long referred to as a 1-0 “old-time hockey” victory. Both the Chargers and Tigers obviously brought their “A” game to the final and the teams' rivalry made for a memorable championship matchup.

Santa Barbara's Hernandez, who proved to be the player of the day with appearances in two varsity playoff games and two junior varsity playoff tilts, stopped 20 of 22 shots he faced while SLO's Ryan Walters made 16 saves on the 20 shots he faced. The Tigers finished with a narrow 22-20 shot advantage.

Hernandez and the Santa Barbara defense limited the four-time defending league champions to single goals by Berkeley Johnston and Nick Teaford to record the upset win.

Teaford had the lone goal in SLO's 1-0 victory over Santa Barbara to close out regular season play.

Santa Barbara is comprised of players from three schools in the Santa Barbara region: San Marcos, Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos. Including playoffs, Girling added to his regular season totals with 18 goals and 17 assists for 35 points, followed by Vitalari with 20 goals and 12 assists.

“Great games,” Long said succinctly of the playoff match-ups. There was more to come.

Junior Varsity Finals

The JV championship playoffs were no less action-packed as third-seeded Santa Barbara recorded a pair of upset wins - both in overtime - to claim this season's playoff championship, the team’s second consecutive. Santa Barbara defeated second-seeded SLO Black, 4-3, in the semifinals in double overtime and then edged top-seeded SLO Gold, 2-1, in the title contest. Christian Okpysh scored the overtime winners in both games.

“It went right down to the wire,” Long commented.

Santa Barbara and SLO Black combined for seven goals in the semifinal game, with each team finishing regulation play tied at three goals apiece. Weiss, Okpysh and Soren Wilde each scored single goals for Santa Barbara while Kyle Kaminski, Callum McKee and Jordan Peterson each scored single goals for SLO Black. Hernandez, with 26 saves, had his work cut out for him as SLO Black out-shot Santa Barbara 29-22. Matt Trevino had 18 saves on 22 shots in absorbing the championship setback.

Weiss and Wilde each finished the game with a goal and assist for Santa Barbara while Marley Stallings had two assists for SLO Black.

The championship game proved to be a thriller as Sam Weiss (Santa Barbara) and Brooks Rossi (SLO Gold) each scored goals for their respective teams in regulation play. Hernandez made 20 saves on 21 shots to record the win - his fourth of the day for Santa Barbara - while Tim Mertogul had 20 saves on 22 shots in taking the tough luck loss.

Hernandez started the season as Santa Barbara’s JV netminder but moved up to the varsity level when the Chargers lost their varsity goalie for the season due to a back injury.

The JV playoffs figured to be a toss-up after all three teams finished with two standing points of one another in regular season play. SLO Gold earned the top seed with a 5-4-3 record, followed by SLO Black at 5-5-2 and Santa Barbara at 4-5-3.

Boosted by the two playoff wins, Santa Barbara finished the season with a division best six victories, leaving both SLO teams with five wins each.

Christian Okpysh led the JV division in scoring with 14 goals and seven assists for 21 points, followed closely by SLO Gold's Bryce Myers with 12 goals and 20 points and Brooks Rossi with 14 goals and 19 points.

Award Winners
Several awards were handed out during the league’s championship playoffs. Christian Okpysh received the award for top JV scorer, Trevino for top JV goaltender, Girling for top varsity scorer and Hernandez for top varsity goalie.

For more information on the CCHSHL, visit the website at


High School Roller Hockey Scoreboard

Central Coast High School Hockey League
Varsity Division
(2) Santa Barbara 5, (3) Paso Robles 4
(1) San Luis Obispo (bye)

(2) Santa Barbara 4, (1) San Luis Obispo 2

Junior Varsity Division
(3) Santa Barbara 4, (2) San Luis Obipso Black 3 (two overtimes)
(1) San Luis Obispo Gold (bye)

(3) Santa Barbara 2, (1) San Luis Obispo Gold 1 (overtime) 

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