Led by the scoring of Jack Wedoski and goaltending of Drake Daley and Caiden Bradshaw, the 8U River Rats went 2-3, good enough to win a cup. Wedoski netted a hat trick and recorded an assist in the 8U’s 5-3 win over the West Covina High Rollers.
The success of the 8U team wasn’t surprising, as it was rated one of the top teams in Northern California going into the tournament. The 8U did take its lumps – allowing nine goals in losses to Chinese Tapei and the Wildcats – but came back strong to win two of its final three contests.
The River Rats also excelled in the individual skills competitions. The trio of Wedoski, Bradshaw and Dominic Hofferber won the King of the Rink Event, Eric Benard claimed the Fastest Shot and Wedoski earned the title of Fastest Skater in the 8U division, while Kyle Kruengel took Fastest Skater and Hardest Shot in the 16U grouping.
Named to their age group’s All-Star teams, or the regional version of Team USA, were Kyle Aldrich, Donny Carter, Ben Kozakiewicz, Madison Fosenburg, Derek Ellingson, Austin Blair, Anthony Carter, Joe Merkel, Jacob Simpson, Hayden Kraft, Gabel Longshore and Schuyler MacDonald.
The 12U team was the most successful group of River Rats sent to Southern California, winning its age group in a 4-3 victory over a team from Hawaii.
According to 10U Coach Dan Fosenburg (10U), the River Rats were forced to adjust their play to match many of their opponents more physical style – seen more often in ice hockey than inline hockey. Most of those teams came from other countries.