Southern California has high school ice hockey? Absolutely.

In fact, you might say, a powerhouse, in the Santa Margarita Eagles, who on April 1 repeated as Division 1 High School National Champions, after a 4-1 win over Edina (Minnesota) at the Chipotle-USA Hockey High School National Championships in Cleveland.

Santa Margarita’s Joshua Hyden recorded a hat trick with three goals in less than eight minutes during the second period, assisted by Brendan Williams, Joseph Felicicchia, and Axel Carlberg. Goalie Brandon Yamasaki made 25 saves for the winners.

That makes three national titles for Santa Margarita, adding to their 2013 and 2018 championships. The Eagles also were national silver medalists in 2015 and 2017, and bronze medalists in 2011, and have won the California state high school championship five times in the last eight years, including the last three straight.

Coached by former NHL player Craig Johnson, Santa Margarita’s Varsity Division I and Division III teams compete in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League and California Amateur Hockey Association, as well as North American Elite Invitational Tournaments and Showcases.

Spring polls

The April 1 CIF-Southern Section spring polls find local Catholic school teams ranked in the top ten among baseball, softball and boys’ volleyball and tennis. Playoff competition in all sports — as well as track and field, swimming, and boys’ golf — begins later this month.

Baseball: J.Serra is fifth and Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks ninth in Division 1; Damien tenth in D-2; Paraclete ninth in D-3; Bishop Diego fourth in D-5; and St. Anthony fifth and St. Monica sixth in D-6.

Softball: Santa Margarita is fifth in D-1; St. Anthony eighth in D-4; Flintridge Sacred Heart sixth and Louisville seventh in D-5; Marymount fifth in D-6; and Mayfield sixth in D-7.

Boys’ tennis: Santa Margarita is third in D-2; Mater Dei second in D-3. Bishop Montgomery fifth in D-4, and Bishop Amat seventh and St. Monica tenth  n D-5.

Boys’ volleyball: The combined Divisions 1 & 2 poll (with teams separated at playoff time in late April) includes Loyola fourth, Servite 11th and Santa Margarita 14th. J. Serra is fifth in D-3; St. Anthony is fifth and Paraclete ninth in D-4; and Don Bosco Tech fourth in D-6.

Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).

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