Grizzlies defeat Monsters, win NorCal championship
The Tahoe Grizzlies peewee A hockey team won the Northern California Hockey Championship this past weekend by beating the Fresno Monsters 2-1 in the finals.
The Grizzlies, consisting of 11- to 12-year-old Tahoe-area boys, play in the California Amateur Hockey Association Northern California section, a 13-team league that plays from September through March. The top four teams from the regular season are invited to play in the round robin-style playoffs. The Grizzlies finished the season with an 8-5-2 record, putting them in second place and earning a spot in last weekend’s playoffs in Vacaville.
“We’re in about the ninth season of the program and we’ve had some success pretty quick,” said head coach Frank Gubello.
The team went 2-1 at the tournament by beating the Vacaville Jets 5-2 in the first game, losing to the Fresno Monsters 0-2 and beating the Roseville Capital Thunder 8-2. The record earned them a spot in Sunday’s championship game where they faced off against the Fresno Monsters, the only team to beat them over the weekend.
“We probably weren’t supposed to make it on paper,” said Gubello. “We had a game plan in mind and they stuck to it.”
The Grizzlies scored first when Wesley Steinkopff put one past the goaltender. Then, less than two minutes later, Fresno netted the equalizer tying the game at 1-1.
Tahoe’s Tucker Cannon scored the winning goal with three minutes left in the third period ending the game with a 2-1 win and the Northern California Championship.
“They played their hearts out,” said Gubello.
Goalie Jackson Glassford had a standout weekend, according the Gubello.
Next, the Grizzlies will travel to San Jose for the state championship where they will have to face Fresno at least one more time this season.
“We have to play as a group and a team. Stick to our game plan,” said Gubello. “It’s a long game and we just have to keep battling through.”