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Roseville-based hockey team shoots and scores again

Capital Thunder wins its second CAHA Midget A 18U state crown in a row
By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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The Capital Thunder went into this hockey season with many means of motivation.

The program that trains at Skatetown in Roseville lost several key players from the Midget A 18U team that won the California Amateur Hockey Association State Championship last year and played this season with a collective bull’s-eye on its back. The Thunder had one player return from a significant injury, several players travel many miles to practice and play, and the team fed off a loss in the Northern California playoffs.

When the CAHA State Championships were played last weekend at the San Jose Sharks’ practice facility, the Thunder roared to its second consecutive title.

“I’m still soaking it up,” head coach Jason Marconcini said. “I couldn’t be more proud of all 15 of them.”

Following an opening 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Junior Ducks, the top line of center Brent Noble, left wing Christian McKernan and right wing Nik Marconcini sparked the Thunder to victories over the Oakland Bears 4-3, the Pasadena Maple Leafs 6-1 and the Junior Ducks 4-2 in the championship.

It was the third consecutive state title for Noble (Whitney High School) and assistant captain Marconcini (Folsom), a younger brother of the coach who played on last year’s team and two years ago won with the Thunder’s 16U squad.

McKernan (Rocklin) scored a tournament-high five goals and had four assists. Marconcini had four total goals and had three assists, and Noble had three goals and six assists. For the regular season, Noble led the Thunder (14-0-2) with 46 goals and 33 assists. Marconcini had 36 goals and 17 assists, and McKernan had 13 goals and 24 assists.

Nick Sprake (Galt), who didn’t play in the NorCal final because of an injury, and Slava Borisov each scored in the championship game, and Sprake totaled three goals in the tournament. Bryce McKernan (Rocklin) recovered from a severed Achilles’ to anchor the Thunder defense.

“That was some of the best defense I’ve seen in a long time,” Jason Marconcini said. “Our forecheck was pretty much unbeatable, and our goalie tandem was unreal.”

The goalie tandem consisted of Penryn native Monica Elvin and Ryan Culligan of Stockton.

“She stood on her head and … probably played the best three games I’ve seen her play,” Marconcini said of Brown, who has earned a scholarship to Brown University. “Even the announcers were saying, ‘Wow, she’s textbook.’ ”

The team included new players and players who traveled to practices and games from Vacaville, Chico and Redding. They arrived at the various rinks ready to play.

“It was a long road,” Thunder assistant coach Alex Feest said. “We started from square one.”

Contact Bill Poindexter at billp@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.