Santa Margarita falls in nationals final
Regis Jesuit of Aurora, Colo., scored three consecutive goals to come from behind and defeat Santa Margarita, 3-1, Monday in the final of the USA Hockey Pure Division National High School Championships at the Hardee’s Iceplex Olympic Rink in Chesterfield, Mo.
Michael Fary tallied Santa Margarita’s goal at the 4:54 mark of the second period off a power play. Tyler Gebauer and Regnars Udris assisted on the goal.
Regis Jesuit responded with a power-play goal by Jack Kilkenny at 15:09 of the second period. Connor Brennan then added an even-strength and empty net goal in the third for the Raiders, giving Regis Jesuit its second second national title in four years.
Junior goaltender Sam Gartner stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced in the goal for the Raiders.
The victory avenged the 2013 USA Hockey National Championship final in Coral Springs, Fla, in which Santa Margarita bested the Raiders, 4-3, in overtime to earn the Eagles its first national title and deny Regis Jesuit a second straight national championship.
Santa Margarita (33-18-2) also handed Regis Jesuit a 2-1 defeat on Saturday in the pool play portion of this season’s multi-state tournament.
“There wasn’t very much difference in either game,” said Eagles coach Craig Johnson. “We got some lucky bounces of the puck the first game and they got some today. Just the way the game goes sometimes. We definitely had some chances.”
The Eagles opened tournament play March 19 in the Ducks Pool losing to Jesuit College Prep of Dallas, Texas, 3-2, in a shootout.
On March 20, Santa Margarita came from behind to defeat North Broward Prep of Cocunut Creek, Fla., 3-1. Greg Bennett tallied an even-strength goal off an assist by Udris at 6:35 of the second period to tie the game at 1-1. Eemil Selanne, son of former Anaheim Ducks great Teemu, scored two goals in the third, with the game-winner at the 6:16 mark off assists by Blake Duarte and Jake Rosenbaum. Selanne’s second goal was at 8:25 off assists by Duarte and Fary.
Eagles goalie Jack Hardwick stopped 36 of 37 shots in the victory.
On Saturday, Santa Margarita scored a goal in each period to defeat Brentwood of Tennessee, 3-1. Bennett scored on a power play in the first, while Gebauer added a second-period goal, and Dante Saccacio completed the scoring with a short-handed goal in the third.
“The kids are obviously disappointed, but they did a great job this year,” said Johnson. “We didn’t win a championship, but I thought this team, more than any other team I’ve had here, progressed more throughout the season. I’m very proud of them.”
To watch a video of Monday’s championship game, visit http://nationals.usahockey.com/page/show/1451629-high-school