JSerra hockey stumbles in quarterfinals at USA Nationals
The JSerra hockey team surrendered four goals in four minutes to open the third period in a quarterfinal loss to Wayzata of Minnesota, 7-1, at the USA Hockey High School Pure Division Nationals in Reston, Va., on Sunday morning.
“One game doesn’t make our season,” JSerra coach Mike Perkins said. “We still have a lot of things to be proud of.”
Even before any goals were scored, it seemed evident how the game would play out.
Wayzata skated hard and beat JSerra to nearly every loose puck on the bigger Olympic-sized rink to wear down the Lions and dominate time of possession.
“Absolutely, that’s the key to any game,” Perkins said. “If your team can win the loose puck races, you’re going to have a good chance to win. That is a great skating team.”
Wayzata went up 2-0 after the first period and scored its only power play goal early in the second for a 3-0 advantage.
Late in the second, sophomore Austin Foster rang a shot off the post and senior Mason Pilkington dove into the crease to knock in the rebound for a goal. Pilkington’s play seemingly gave JSerra a shot in the arm going into the third period.
Perkins switched out his goaltenders, replacing sophomore Landon Pavlisin with senior Nick Valdez, at the start of the third hoping to give his team an extra boost.
“We lived and died with our seniors,” Perkins said. “Nick battled and won the last two games for us. You’re trying to build on any momentum.”
The energy faded quickly as Wayzata scored three goals on three consecutive shots against Valdez and added another when Pavlisin returned for the 7-1 win.
JSerra was outshot, 32-13.
The loss ends the winningest season in JSerra history at 37-10-3, 77 points.
“We have such a great group of seniors,” Perkins said. “I can’t say enough. I’m so proud of what they’ve done in their four years in the program.”
Nine of the Lions' 17 skaters and goaltenders are seniors, including captain Zach Fielder and regular-season goals leader Francis Lemay.
This season, JSerra, the lone inaugural member of the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League back in 2008, won the ADHSHL title for the second time, the Western Prep Hockey League title for the second consecutive year and was the CAHA state runner-up to Orange Lutheran.