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How sweep it is for Jr. Ducks 12U BB1 team

By Chris Bayee, 04/11/23, 7:45AM PDT


The group adds a CAHA title to its SCAHA championship for a second consecutive year.

Six Jr. Ducks players were part of the 2022 12U B CAHA and SCAHA champions and this season's 12U BB titlists. From left, assistant coach Brad Warezak, Jamie Warezak, Jack Crouch, Connor Reger, coach Brady Horn, Jensen Hoem, Marco Valverde and Josh Harmsen

Doubling up on SCAHA and CAHA championships is impressive but not unheard of. But many of the same group doing it in consecutive seasons?

Meet the Jr. Ducks 12U BB1 team, which accomplished the feat this season and did it in a compelling fashion. The team went 28-0-0 this season in BB competition - 4-0 in the CAHA playoffs, 5-0 in the SCAHA playoffs, 15-0 during the regular season and 4-0 in preseason games.

A core of six players who won 12U B CAHA and SCAHA titles in 2022 also were part of this season's double champions. They are goaltender Conner Reger, defensemen Jensen Hoem and Jamie Warezak, and forwards Jack Crouch, Josh Harmsen and Marco Valverde. 

"Those guys were instrumental to our success, and I leaned on them through both (CAHA) games," coach Brady Horn said. "When it came down to the championship games and bigger games, those were the go-to guys. They're very close friends on and off the ice."

The 12Us had several close calls during the season but the team played its best when it mattered the most. 

It outscored foes 20-2 in round-robin play at the CAHA State tournament at Vacaville before defeating the San Mateo Blackstars, 4-2 in the final. In the SCAHA tournament, it won three round-robin games by a cumulative 21-5 margin, and then its two playoff games by a 15-3 edge.

In addition, the group won two A tournaments - over Thanksgiving weekend at Phoenix and over MLK weekend at Tampa, Fla. - and reached the semifinals in a third A tourney, in Phoenix over President's Day weekend. 

"All of our tournaments were up a division," Horn said. "At Phoenix, we were down 5-2 with 5 minutes left. We got a power play and I pulled the goalie, and we popped a goal. We scored two more times with the goalie pulled to tie the game 5-5.

"We went through overtime and won in a shootout. It was one of the more exciting games I've ever coached. It showed the resilience of the group. This team never gave up."

What's also interesting about this team is that a handful of its players had not played club hockey before last season.

"Development-wise they kept getting smarter and smarter," Horn said. "They're at that age where they're starting to mature physically, so they got faster and stronger as the year went along, which helped us in the CAHA games.

"All of the newer players picked up the game fast. They played fast, and they played the right way. Everyone moved the puck and shared the puck. 

"The result was winning a championship. It was because there was no selfishness."

Horn was assisted by Mike Bickley and Brad Warezak.