Inter-regional events a barometer for NCRHA nationals By Phillip Brents
he National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) will hold its 21st national championship tournament April 10-14 in Rochester, N.Y. Teams across the country have already started to prepare for the trip by participating in a number of regular-season inter-regional events to gauge the competition in other conferences. The Western Collegiate Hockey League (WCRHL) has already hosted two inter-regional events this season: Nov. 17-18 at The Rinks-Huntington Beach Inline and Jan. 12-13 at The Rinks-Corona Inline. Lindenwood University and Florida Gulf Coast University’s Division 1 and Division IV teams participated in the November event. The State University of New York at Cortland’s Division II team and Hofstra University’s Division III team participated in the January event. The two Lindenwood teams provided a measuring stick for the local WCRHL teams they played. Lindenwood’s Division I team placed runner-up at last year’s NCRHA nationals while Lindenwood’s Division IV team has won eight consecutive national titles. As a bonus, the November inter-regional event served as a homecoming for several California players on the Lindenwood teams. WCRHL league director and NCRHA executive director Brennan Edwards said the January inter-regional event went well. “Having Cortland and Hofstra out was awesome,” Edwards explained. “Both teams split their games with WCRHL opponents, and regardless of the outcomes, it helps all teams prepare for nationals by seeing other styles of play and realizing there is more going on than
the 3-4 teams you play multiple times each season. “I think all the teams playing in the inter-conference games really get up for those games, get excited, and give it a bigger effort than your typical regular season game.” Cortland and Hofstra, which both compete in the Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (ECRHA), each finished 2-2 at January’s inter-regional event. Cortland defeated UC Santa Barbara and Chico State while dropping matchups to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and CSU Fullerton (in overtime). Hofstra defeated Long Beach State and UCLA and lost to the WCRHL’s top two Division III teams in Cal Poly Pomona and UC-Berkeley.
Saddleback is 8-0-0-1 so far this season while West Valley is 5-11 playing a mix of Division I, Division II and Division III teams. Cal Poly SLO (11-3-0-1), Chico State (9-6) and Fullerton (8-3-0-1) have locked up the top three Division II playoff berths, leaving San Jose State (2-8-0-1), University of Arizona (2-10) and Northern Arizona University (1-9) to battle for the division’s final playoff berth heading into the final regular season event Feb. 16-17 at Huntington Beach Inline. “San Jose State plays NAU twice and U of A once, so each team’s postseason fate is in their hands,” Edwards said. Cal Poly Pomona tops the Division III standings with an 11-1 record. Four teams – Cal-Berkeley (6-3), Long Final conflict Beach State (5-5-0-2), UCLA The WCRHL regional (6-7) and UC Irvine (5-9) – are championship tournament is UCLA and Hofstra University from New York battled it out in separated by just two standscheduled March 2-3 at Co- inter-regional competition as part of a regular season event ings points, with one of them hosted by the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League at not advancing to regionals. rona Inline. The top four teams in the The Rinks-Corona Inline in January. Photo/WCRHL Arizona State (10-1), UC Division II, Division III and Division IV standings quali- Santa Barbara (6-3-0-1), Arizona (5-5) and Cal Poly fy. The Division I playoffs will consist of a best-of-three Gold (5-6) lead the Division IV standings, followed by championship series between Arizona State University Fullerton (4-6-0-1), NAU (4-6) and Cal Poly Pomona (2(10-1) and UC Santa Barbara (7-5-0-1). 10). Junior College Division teams will skip the region“There are probably 5-6 teams fighting for the four al event and automatically receive bids to the nation- spots,” Edwards noted. “This season, we don’t have al championship tournament. Saddleback defeated any schools with two Division IV teams, so we know we WCRHL rival West Valley College in last year’s national will have four distinct schools playing for the Division IV championship game. championship.” CARubberHockey.com
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