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COURTESY OF ALEXANDER KITANO
Orange Lutheran forward Jacob Heller, shown here attempting to score in a game last season, led the Lancers with 11 points at the Orange County Labor Day Festival last week.

Orange Lutheran opens season with tournament win

STAFF WRITER

The Orange Lutheran ice hockey team began the 2015-16 season much like it ended last season — on top.

The Lancers, last year’s Anaheim Dusks High School and CAHA state champions, won all five of its games to capture the 4th annual Orange County Labor Day Festival for the second consecutive year last week at the Lake Forest Ice Palace.

The Lancers put together a solid effort throughout the tournament, outscoring opponents 22-6, including a 9-3 win over the Los Angeles Jr. Kings in the tournament opener. OLu went on to defeat the Colorado Evolution (3-0), San Jose Jr. Sharks (2-1), and Wave 18AA (Artesia), 5-1, before ousting JSerra in the championship game, 3-1.

"It's always good for the team's confidence to have a solid start to the season," said second-year coach Dan Adams. “We thought we were prepared (for the tournament), but we were pleasantly surprised on how well the kids played.”

Among their top players included senior Jacob Heller. Heller, who led the ADHSHL in scoring last season, tallied 11 points on four goals and seven assists. Junior Zach Pires added nine points on three goals and six assists.

Orange Lutheran (6-0) was equally as solid defensively, as goalies AJ Frosh and ConnorTaherian finished 1-2 in goals against average.

“We’re very fortunate to have two high-level goaltenders,” said Adams. “They both were outstanding the entire weekend.”

The schedule only gets tougher from here for OLu, as it opens the ADHSHL season on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against two-time league champion Santa Margarita at Anaheim Ice.

Following Saturday’s game, the 19-player squad will travel to Denver, Colo., to compete in the Colorado Twister Wrister tournament, Sept. 15-17. Among its opponents will be defending USA Hockey Pure School national champion Regis Jesuit of Aurora, Colo.

“We’re starting out with a pretty heavy schedule,” said Adams. “It should help us, especially in league because all the teams will be competitive this year. We’re going to have to play as if every game is a championship game to equal the success we had last season.”


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