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Hockey

Santa Barbara Royals Roll into L.A. Kings Hockey League Final

Jack Johnson of the Santa Barbara Royals fights through the South County Aviators defense to score one of his three goals in an 8-0 playoff win.
Jack Johnson of the Santa Barbara Royals fights through the South County Aviators defense to score one of his three goals in an 8-0 playoff win. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

Next stop Staples Center.

The Santa Barbara Royals ice hockey team booked their ticket to play at the home of the Los Angeles Kings by winning a playoff game in the inaugural L.A. Kings High School Hockey League.

Jack Johnson recorded a hat trick and Jared McMullen scored two goals and had two assists to lead the Royals to an 8-0 romp over the South County Aviators in a semifinal game on Saturday at the Ice in Paradise complex in Goleta.

[Scroll down for video highlights]

Santa Barbara will play the Kern County Knights for the league's first championship on Saturday, March 19, at Staples Center.

Just as they did in rolling to the regular season title with a 14-0-1 record, the Royals were dominating in the playoff game on home ice.

Jacob Watkins started the scoring off an assist from Nicolas Poire. Then Johnson went to work. He made it 2-0, assisted by Jared McMullen and Poire, and scored his second goal unassisted. Johnson was the second-leading goal scorer in the league with 28 goals.

Watkins tallied his second goal on assist from Collin Del Bonis to make it 4-0.

Twin brothers Jared and Ryan McMullen combined on the next two goals. Ryan fed Jared for the fifth goal and then Jared assisted on Ryan's for a 6-0 lead.

Johnson and Jared McMullen completed the scoring with unassisted goals.

Goalkeepers Brady Rotondo and William Hahn combined for the shutout.

The Santa Barbara Royals are composed of players from San Marcos, Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara high schools. They are coached by former NHL player Steve Heinze. He'll be returning to the arena where he finished his career.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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