Puck drops on Patrick Henry High School’s second inline hockey season

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The 18th consecutive season for CIF-sanctioned inline hockey in the San Diego Section faced off Nov. 27. It is the second consecutive year that Patrick Henry High School has a team participating in the CIF-Metro Conference. 

Seventeen teams are active this season throughout San Diego County. The Patriots remain the lone East County-based team.

Patriot Nation 

The 18th consecutive season for CIF-sanctioned inline hockey in the San Diego Section faced off Nov. 27. It is the second consecutive year that Patrick Henry High School has a team participating in the CIF-Metro Conference. 

Seventeen teams are active this season throughout San Diego County. The Patriots remain the lone East County-based team.

Patriot Nation 

Patrick Henry finished 3-19-1 in its inaugural 2016-17 season, including 1-17 in the North County League, but qualified for the 12-team Kiwanis Cup championship playoffs. The Patriots dropped a highly competitive 11-8 contest to Otay Ranch in the opening round. 

Head coach Chuck Russell believes his team could be in for a better showing this season with the return of eight players off last season’s team and the addition of two new players with hockey experience. 

Matt Russell, a second team All-North County League selection in 2016-17 as a sophomore, tops Patrick Henry’s returning class. Fellow returners Clint Allen and Cameron Elswick, both seniors, and juniors Aidan Rion, John Miller, Tyler Daniels and Ruben Allen, join him.

Newcomers waiting to make an impact include juniors Matt Voegel, Zach Thurman, Kervin Klu, Chris Stagner and Andrew Ingalls as well as freshmen Eric Tran, Aiden Elswsick and Brett Miller. 

Patrick Henry caught the attention of everyone in the conference when it recorded the biggest upset so far in the new season when it defeated resident power house Cathedral Catholic, 5-4, in overtime in a game played Dec. 6 at the Escondido Sports Center.

The win was the Patriots’ first of the season; it came in grand fashion.

The Dons, unbeaten in two prior league outings, led 4-2 after the second period before Patrick Henry scored two goals in the third period to send the game into overtime.

Matt Russell tied the game, 4-4, on a goal with 38 seconds to play in regulation. Teammate Ruben Allen then scored the game-winning at the 3:31 mark of overtime.

“This season we feel that we have improved each game,” Chuck Russell explained. “In our first game against (defending conference champion) Westview High School, the score was 2-1 halfway through the game and we ran out of steam (in a 14-3 loss on Nov. 27) Against Rancho Bernardo, we fell behind early and our comeback was halted by excellent play by their goaltender (Jakob Ogan) in a 7-2 loss (on Nov. 29). 

“In our third game (on Dec. 4), Scripps Ranch had a 7-6 lead headed into the third period. Once again, we ran out of steam and in a 13-8 loss. We made adjustments each game and we were able to put a complete game together against Cathedral Catholic.” 

Voegel completed his second hat trick in two games by netting his third goal of the game to make the score 4-3 in the Dons’ favor. With time ticking down, Matt Russell scored a wrap-around goal against Cathedral Catholic standout goaltender Patrick Henson to send the game into sudden-death overtime.

About two minutes into overtime, Russell drew the attention of two Cathedral Catholic players and passed to Ruben Allen, who was wide-open in the slot. Allen then fired a wrist shot off the inside of the post to give Patrick Henry its first win of the season.

Voegel led the Patriots with a hat trick while Matt Russell collected two points on a goal and assist.

Patrick Henry picked up its second consecutive win by defeating the Poway Titans, 9-6, in a North County League play played Dec. 11 at Skate San Diego in El Cajon.

Tyler Daniel and Voegel each collected hat tricks for the victorious Patriots, who improved to 2-3 in league play.

Through five games, Voegel leads Patrick Henry in scoring with 14 points (10 goals, four assists) while Matt Russell has collected 11 points (seven goals, four assists). Daniel has contributed six points (four goals, two assists) while Ruben Allen has scored four goals.

Patrick Henry goaltender Aidan Rion has played very well in the team’s first outings this season, according to the Patrick Henry coach.

The Patriots are scheduled to return to action with a game Jan. 8 at Skate San Diego.

Face-offs

The CIF-Metro Conference is divided once again into three leagues – Mesa League, South Bay League and North County League. The North County League is the largest member with seven schools while the Mesa and South Bay League, which are comprised of member schools from the conference-founding Sweetwater Union High School District, is evenly balanced this season with five teams each. 

Membership in the North County League includes Scripps Ranch, Westview, Rancho Bernardo, Cathedral Catholic, Escondido Charter, Poway and Patrick Henry high schools.

Castle Park moves up from the South Bay League to join Mesa League veterans Bonita Vista, Eastlake, Hilltop and Otay Ranch high schools. 

Chula Vista, Mar Vista, Sweetwater and Southwest high schools welcome San Ysidro to the South Bay League this season as the conference’s newest member. 

Westview defeated Rancho Bernardo, 3-2, in overtime to win last season’s Kiwanis Cup championship. Cathedral Catholic defeated Scripps Ranch, 4-2, in the third-place game. Rancho Bernardo won the regular season North County League banner. 

Eastlake captured last season’s Mesa League regular season championship while Castle Park won the 2016-17 South Bay League title. 

Four teams entered the 2017-18 winter break with undefeated records: Eastlake led the pack with a 5-0 record, followed by Scripps Ranch at 4-0, and Westview and Rancho Bernardo both with 3-0 records.

Rancho Bernardo’s Miles Cook topped North County League scorers with 17 points on seven goals and 10 assists at the break. Scripps Ranch’s Matthew Gauthier ranked second in league scoring with 16 points on 11 goals and five assists, followed by Patrick Henry’s Voegel with 14 points in third place.

Matt Russell ranked sixth in league scoring with 11 points.

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