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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 1:51 am | Fair 45º

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Santa Barbara Royals Host Ice Hockey Playoff Game on Saturday

The Santa Barbara Royals’ defense allowed only 18 goals during the regular season of the L.A. Kings High School Hockey League. Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara Royals’ defense allowed only 18 goals during the regular season of the L.A. Kings High School Hockey League.

The Santa Barbara Royals ice hockey team made history by winning the inaugural L.A. Kings High School League regular season with a 14-0-1 record.

The Royals are comprised of competitive hockey players from the three Santa Barbara area public high schools. They are coached by former NHL player Steve Heinze.

After playing a regular season that started back in late September, the team moves on to the playoffs. It will take on the fourth-place South County Aviators out of Simi Valley on Saturday at the Ice in Paradise rink in Goleta. Face-off is at 6:15 p.m. The second-place Kern County Knights host the third-place West Ranch Wildcats in the other semifinal.

The semifinal winners advance to the championship game at Staples Center, home of the L.A. Kings,  on March 19 at 2 p.m.

Santa Barbara's only loss was a 3-2 overtime decision against the East County Outlaws in its fourth game of the season.

Was Heinze surprised by the Royals' success?

"Surprised is not really the word I would use," he told Noozhawk. "I knew we had a great bunch of kids but really had no idea what kind of competition we would be up against. The difference is that our kids show up to play hard. We have two great captains (Chris Ewasiuk and Collin Del Bonis) that lead by example and the rest of the team puts in the extra effort that gives you a chance to win every game."

The Royals had the most potent offense and the stingiest defense in the league. They scored 115 goals and allowed only 18 in 15 games. Defenseman Jack Johnson finished the regular season at No. 2 in goal and points scoring. He put away 28 goals and compiled 40 points.

Goalies Brady Rotondo and William Hahn rank one and three, respectively, in goals against average and saves percentage.

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