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Alarcon leads Orange Lutheran to Ducks League title
ANAHEIM Orange Lutheran goaltender Austin Alarcon couldn’t have picked a better time to play the best game of his life.
The senior stopped 31 shots in recording a shutout to lead the Lancers to a 1-0 victory over Santa Margarita Monday in the Division 1 championship game of the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League at Honda Center.
“This feels great,” Alarcon said. “I was pressured at times, but the guys were playing well in front of me and kept (Santa Margarita’s) players to the outside so I could see all the shots.”
The game’s only goal occurred at the 9:56 mark of the second period when freshman Jacob Furry lifted a shot just over the left shoulder of Santa Margarita goalie Dylan Gluck for his third goal of the season following a scramble in front of the net. The winning play was initiated off a slap shot from the blue line by senior defenseman Stephen Goodman. the puck rattled in front of the crease before Riley Kraemer deflected a pass to Furry.
The victory adds to what has already been a storied season for the Lancers (35-2-1, 19-1-0 ADHSHL), who also defeated Santa Margarita last month to capture the California Amateur Hockey Association high school state title. Later this month, OLU and Santa Margarita — ranked No. 1 and 2 in the state — will vie for the national championship in St. Louis, Mo.
“These kids have heart,” said Lancers coach Dan Adams. “They love each other and want to bettle for each other. Today, we played our style of game and limited our mistakes. We’re very fortunate to come out on top against a very good team.”
Santa Margarita (32-12-3, 12-3-0 ADHSHL) outshot the Lancers, 31-14, but failed to convert on four power plays, including a 5-on-3 opportunity in the first period.
“Our guys weren’t ready for it,” said Eagles coach Craig Johnson of the 5-on-3. “They went out there and they didnt exectue the way they should. It’s unfortunate because that turned out to be the difference in the game.”
Adams said his squad took a long look at Santa Margarita’s power play after winning the state title.
“We really broke down what they did (on power plays). Today, we executed the exact plan to be successful,” Adams said. “They got us late in the third period, but we got a strong save.”
Orange Lutheran got plenty of strong saves from Alarcon, who was quick to say the victory was a team effort.
“We play as a team. In previous years we had 1-2 guys who could play, but this year, from top-to-bottom, we have guys who can play and want to win,” he said.
“He was outstanding,” Johnson said of Alarcon. “We got a lot of shots, but we didnt get enough traffic in front of him. I thought if we got a little more traffic, we would’ve had more chances to maybe bury one.”
The Eagles nearly buried one on numerous occasions, and thought they had scored with 1:49 left in the game on a shot by junior Cavin McClare. But the referees ruled the puck had not crossed the goal line before the net was dislodged.
“It’s one of those calls,” Johnson said. “But give OLU a lot of credit. They found a way to win. It wasn’t pretty for them, but they found a way.”
Orange Lutheran has now defeated Santa Margarita seven times this season in nine contests.
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