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Three Jr. Ducks Teams Win Tier I CAHA State Championships

By By Chris Bayee, 02/04/24, 7:30PM PST

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The 13U, 14U and 18U teams capture CAHA titles

Jr. Ducks Capture Three Tier 1 CAHA State Championships

Three Anaheim Jr. Ducks Tier 1 Teams - 13U, 14U and 18U captured CAHA State Championships on Feb. 4. They, along with the 15U and 16U teams that reached the CAHA finals, will participate in the Pacific District tournament later in February at various sites.

  • 18U Tier I CAHA Champs The 18U AAA team, coached by August Aiken, went undefeated at State, finishing with a 6-3 victory over the Rose City (Pasadena) Pats.
  • 14U Tier I CAHA Champs The 14U AAA team, coached by Jim Burcar, edged the rival Los Angeles Jr. Kings, 4-3, to capture the CAHA championship.
  • 13U Tier I CAHA Champs The 13U AAA team, coached by Sandy Gasseau, avenged a round-robin loss to the Ice Dogs with a 6-1 championship game triumph.

Three Anaheim Jr. Ducks teams captured Tier I CAHA State championships on Sunday, Feb. 4.

The 18U, 14U and 13U teams won titles at various sites, while two more teams (15U and 16U) reached championship games. All five teams will advance to Pacific District tournaments later this month.

18U’s Run The Table

The 18U team defeated the Rose City (Pasadena) Pats, 6-3, for the title at the Cube in Valencia. The victory capped a dominant weekend for coach August Aiken’s team.

"Both goalies (Jack Kavetsky and Kyle Pisarcik) helped our 16U team reach Nationals last year, and their experience helped," Aiken said. "The other thing is our overall depth is good. 

"Our defense hadn't scored a lot all season until the Frosty Cup in Dallas, and they continued that this past weekend. We got contributions from all four lines. Whether it was points, blocking shots or taking hits to chip pucks out, everyone contributed."

The 18U’s went 3-0 in round-robin play, defeating the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, 6-0, the Pats, 8-0, and the San Jose Jr. Sharks, 6-2. 

The Jr. Ducks went 12-0 in CAHA regular-season play and outscored opponents a combined 72-17, a plus-55 goal differential.

14U’s Go Undefeated

The 14U team won a tight contest against the Jr. Kings for the second time in the tournament, taking the final 4-3 in a back-and-forth at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. 

The Jr. Ducks overcame a 3-2 deficit in the final 5:30, taking the lead for good with 3 minutes to play. 

"It was a very good game; these teams know each other well," coach Jim Burcar said. "Most of these players have been going at it since 8U."

The 2009 birth year team also defeated the Jr. Kings, 2-0, in round-robin play. The Jr. Ducks also beat the Ice Dogs, 3-1, and the Bears, 5-0.

The 14U’s went 10-0 during the regular season and finished with a plus-39 goals differential (49-10).

Those numbers point to one of the team's strengths.

"We defend really well as a team and track pucks hard defensively," Burcar said. "We attack as a unit. They're learning to play the game as young men in college and professional players do. There are five players in the picture at all times."

The 14U team welcomed six new players this season. Burcar attributed the highly ranked team's success to a few other factors.

"Our team is all local, which is a feather in their cap," he said. "This group has always been local. To have kids stick around you have to have very committed families, and they've been that way since the group got together at 8U.

"They go to work every day and try to get better. Our group respects opponents like the Kings and the Bears. They're well-coached, and these teams have made each other better."

13U’s Gain Revenge in Title Game

The 13U’s convincingly avenged a round-robin loss to the Ice Dogs with a 6-1 championship game victory in El Segundo.

The final was a rematch of the Jr. Ducks’ only round-robin loss (3-0).

"It's always tough to beat a team twice," coach Sandy Gasseau said. "We didn't play bad in the round-robin game, they just earned the win."

The players took ownership of the loss and came into the final with a much different attitude, Gasseau said. 

"The group was like, 'OK, we're not taking that.' I sensed it the second I walked into the locker room," Gasseau said. "You know when you don't have to say much. I don't think we've had a game all season where I saw that determination.

"We have 12 new skaters plus both goalies, and they're all stepping up. It's got to be a team effort in a tournament like this. We needed everybody, and we got that."

The Jr. Ducks defeated the Wave, 5-1, and the Jr. Kings, 5-2, in round-robin play.  The 2010 birth year team finished with a plus-9 goals differential in the tournament (16-7).

The Jr. Ducks went 7-3 during the regular season, finishing second, and had a plus-31 goals differential (47-16).

16U, 15U Teams Also Advance

The 16U team staved off elimination with a 5-4 victory over the Bears before falling in the final to the Jr. Kings at Valencia. 

The Jr. Ducks defeated the Jr. Sharks 2-1, the Bears 4-1, lost 8-0 to Jr. Kings in round-robin play. The team went 7-5 in the regular season, finishing second, and posted a plus-29 goal differential (58-29).

The 15Us lost a tight, 1-0 decision to the Jr. Kings 1-0 in the championship game in Valencia.

Comprised of 2008 birth years, the Jr. Ducks rallied to earn a spot in the final by defeating the San Jose Jr. Sharks in an elimination game, 4-3. That avenged a 3-2 loss in round-robin action. The Jr. Ducks also defeated the Bears, 10-0, but lost to the Jr. Kings, 3-1.

The Jr. Ducks went 8-4 during the CAHA regular season to finish second. The team’s goals differential was plus-23 (46-23). 

Two Lady Ducks AA Teams Fall in Finals

Two Lady Ducks AA teams also competed in the CAHA playoffs. 

At Vacaville, the 16U team lost a close 2-1 game to the GSE Girls in the final. The Lady Ducks reached the title game by defeating the Angels twice (5-1, 2-1) after losses to GSE.

At Anaheim Ice, the 18U team lost twice to the San Diego Angels.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Pacific District Championships, where the winners will earn a berth at the USA Hockey Youth Nationals, will take place on Feb. 22-25, except for 16U and 18U boys, which will be held the following weekend. Nationals are scheduled for April 2-7 at various sites nationwide.

The boys 13U, 14U and 15U Districts will be in Seattle. All of the girls Districts will be in San Jose. Boys 16U and 18U will be in Anchorage, Alaska.