Owen Gaffney (5g) led second-ranked Loyola’s potent offensive attack to a 14-7 win over third-ranked Oaks Christian in the first of two boys semifinal matchups on Saturday in Culver City.
“Owen can be magic out there,” Cubs coach Seth Cohen said. “He is still young, a little impetuous sometimes. But you can tell he’s a real spark, and he get’s the party started. I thought he did a really nice job of taking over and putting us in a good position to win … The offense is coming along.”
Saturday, Gaffney started the party with the first goal 21 seconds in. Senior Kaiser Fry (3g) scored two in the first, and Speed Fry scored in the quarter’s closing seconds, as Loyola pushed out to a 4-1 lead after one. Mike Spaeth (2g, 1a) scored the Lions’ lone goal off a Ronny Redell (2a) assist.
After a quiet five-plus minutes to begin the second, Alex Horowitz (2g, 2a) scored two and Gaffney had another, giving the Lions a 7-3 lead at the half. Cade Rogers (3g, 1a) scored both of Oaks Christian’s goals in the frame.
Gaffney scored two more in the third quarter, along with goals from Fry and Trey Mora (1g), and the defense held the Lions scoreless to take a commanding 11-3 lead into the fourth quarter. Senior Cam Bieler, who recently took over the starting goalie job for the Cubs, remained hot Saturday with 10 saves through the first three quarters.
“Cam was outstanding between the pipes,” Cohen said. “We’re riding him right now, because he’s the hot hand.”
Spaeth scored first to open the fourth quarter for the Lions (15-4), but Speed Fry (2g, 1a) responded with an unassisted rocket in the other net and the Cubs went on to win 14-7.
The back-to-back-to-back Southern Section champion Cubs (15-7) will be playing in the LA Championship Game for the fourth season in a row, all against top-seeded Palos Verdes — which beat No. 4 Harvard Westlake 9-3 Saturday. The Sea Kings dominated the teams’ regular-season meeting in April, winning 15-8.
“It’s 1 vs. 2, so I think that would be a treat for everyone,” Cohen said.
That treat will take place Wednesday night out at Westlake High School beginning at 7 p.m.