Kings of California
Posted December 19th, 2021
Los Angeles Program represents the West Coast at Champions League
From one end of the continent to the other, the Los Angeles Jr. Kings will travel 2,700 miles cross-country to compete at the 2022 Champions League next week. Currently ranked 2nd in the U.S. and 9th in the world, the Jr. Kings come into the tournament as a confident bunch with a wealth of talent throughout the lineup.
“We are looking forward to playing some of the best teams from around the world,” said head coach Shawn Pitcher. “The competition will be fierce which will make it a great show.”
‘Fierce’ may be underselling it, too. The team’s first game of the tournament comes against a top-notch Slovakian team in HK Dukla Trencin. From there, they take on No. 1 U.S. team Windy City Storm who has already tied (4-4) and beaten (3-1) the boys from L.A. this season. They close out pool play with matchups against Järved IF, Kiekko Blues and Little Caesars.
Can the Jr. Kings keep pace with top international competition? Forwards like Kue-Gene Park, Cooper Soller, Tyus Sparks, Sammie Ochoa, Jake Brown and Nolan Beddow are averaging more than a point per game. Logan Stuart, Noah Davidson and Aidan Yu add even more depth of firepower up front as well.
Defensively, Michael Block, Sean Burick, Jacqueline Gasseau,Karsten Hirasawa, Kevin Shi and Alofa Tunoa Ta’amu have suffocated opposing offenses. Collectively, they’ve held opponents to two goals or fewer in 17 of their 25 games this season, and enter the tournament on a 12-0-1 run.
Morgan Stickney and Sascha Pitaev are two of the top 2008-born goaltenders in the country as well, providing a strong one-two punch between the pipes for Los Angeles. Both net minders maintain a save percentage north of .900 this season.
The Jr. Kings will have a chance to prove they’re not just the best in their home country, but the best in the world next week at Champions League. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for continued coverage of the tournament, upcoming features, highlights and recaps of the tournament, and so much more!
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