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UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE

Huntington Beach’s Ralsten off to NCAA D-III Bryn Athyn By Jim DenHollander/USPHL.com

I

smael Ralsten, a goalie brought up in Huntington Beach and in California youth hockey, used the skills he picked up in California and took it across the continent as a junior player. Now, he is set to show off his wares at the collegiate level at NCAA Division III Bryn Athyn (Pa.) College. The 20-year-old goaltender wrapped up a solid junior career this past season with the National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) Tier II junior level of the USPHL with the Islanders Hockey Club out of North Andover, Mass., taking his post-California development full circle. From his time with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and California Wave organizations, Ralsten played a pair of seasons with the Islanders Hockey Club’s 18U team. From there, he took his act north of the border for a pair of seasons before returning to the Islanders’ NCDC team this past season. “It was a great time,” said Ralsten of the experience of traveling to different areas of the continent. “It was a fun year.” Ralsten said while the level of play is similar - all four leagues are at the Tier II level - there are some differences. “There’s a lot more physicality and fighting is much more a part of the game in Canada,” recalled Ralsten. “I think this year with the Islanders, my team only got in one fight. The game was different in Canada because they play a lot tougher.” With the Islanders, Ralsten played 14 games, post-

ing a record of 8-5-1-0 with a 3.11 goals-against aver- of a step back last year (8-17-1). They ended up losing 10 games that were one-goal games.” age and a save percentage of .907. Ralsten said he believes a new group of freshmen will At the end of the season, Ralsten got to spend some time in California, but he is now back in Massachusetts help the program reverse its fortunes this season. “I’m really excited,” he said. “It’s a good school about working toward his next step forward at Bryn Athyn. Ralsten returned to train in the Stop It Goaltending 15 minutes outside the city of Philadelphia.” While the game has taken him across the continent, training sessions run by Brian Daccord. The popular and Ralsten learned the basics and highly-rated program boasts progressed to a top level in Cala long list of goaltenders that ifornia. Ducks legend Jean-Sehave trained there and gone on bastien Giguere was a big to successful NCAA college cainfluence on the young goaltenreers and have worked with no der. less than 25 goaltenders who “I tried to get the same gear were drafted into the NHL. as him when I played for the Jr. “I don’t even spend sumDucks,” said Ralsten. mers in California – I spend Playing for the Jr. Ducks althem in Massachusetts with lowed Ralsten a chance to meet Brian Daccord and his group. other Ducks greats like CoI also help train and coach rey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and younger goalies while I am out here,” Ralsten added. “It’s a re- Huntington Beach native Ismael Ralsten developed his Chris Kunitz. game in California and after playing in the USPHL, will “I was a big fan and they ally good gig and I enjoy it. It’s play NCAA D-III hockey this fall for Bryn Athyn College. helped me progress a lot as a Photo/USPHL were amazing people when they goaltender as well. I’ve been working with them for four were on the ice with us,” said Ralsten. “They were a big years. I’ve really learned a lot.” influence on me and a big part of why I got into hockey.” He may not realize it yet, but Ralsten’s success and As for the challenges ahead at the college level, Ralsten is both excited and confident to get things started. edication to honing his craft as a goalie may be the in“It’s kind of a new hockey program at Bryn Athyn,” said spiration that helps a new generation of young California Ralsten. “It’s their third season coming up. They had a bit skaters.

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