In a match that featured two prominent Los Angeles and Orange County programs Monday night at Tustin High School, LA’s top-ranked Palos Verdes overpowered OC’s fifth-ranked Foothill 16-4.
The Sea Kings (12-1) came off spring break looking as if the seven days off did much more good than anything else as they pounced on the Knights (8-5) early and often. It was a team that looked refreshed and rested as they head into the final stretch of the regular season with four games remaining until postseason play begins
“It’s good to take some time off; it’s refreshing,” Sea Kings coach Jimmy Borell said. “We came back Friday and had a three-and-a-half-hour practice in and worked pretty hard. It wasn’t all that clean, but we had another practice Saturday, and that was a lot better. It’s a long season, and we missed each other, so it was nice to come back and play with each other.”
While the score quickly wound up being lopsided, Palos Verdes actually trailed early on. Foothill scored in the first minute of the game off a nice shot from Riley Ahern (1g). It only got worse for the Knights from here.
The Sea Kings followed that with six unanswered goals in the first quarter to build a 6-1 advantage, followed by three more in the second to take a 9-2 lead at the half. Brad Sharp (4g, 3a) and Luc Charbonnier (4g, 1a) were the stars offensively for Palos Verdes, and they really started to click from the second quarter on.
“I’ve gotten more comfortable in the crease recently,” Charbonnier said. “[Sharp] is an excellent dodger; he see’s the field really well, and he makes it easier.”
Charbonnier has become a key component of the Sea Kings’ offense of late, scoring three-plus goals in three of the past four games.
“[Charbonnier] is our hockey guy,” Borell said. “He’s got a great stick, and it’s all about just working hard off-ball. When he has it, he can let go in a split second, which is nice. He has just unbelievable hands. He’s just getting better and better.”
The Palos Verdes dominance continued in the third quarter, as they outscored Foothill 6-0 and led 15-2. Cole Clinton (1g) — who was solid again at the ‘X,’ winning 14 of 20 face-offs — notched his first goal of the season in the frame.
“It all starts with Cole [Clinton] at the faceoff ‘X,'” Borell emphasized.
The Knights played their best in the fourth quarter, with goals from Destry Burton (2g) and Luke Pearson (1g), but it wasn’t enough to overcome PV’s dominance in the first three frames.
The potent Sea Kings’ offensive attack received contributions from Michael Nagy (2g), Landon Smith (2a), Jake Jellison (1g, 1a), Birk Swan (2g), Jordan White (2g), Ryan Wilson (1g, 1a), and Jack Allegart (1a).
“I think we’re getting better and better every game, and I think we’ll do good things,” Charbonnier said.
Palos Verdes returns to Orange County on Saturday to take on No. 7 Santa Margarita Catholic. Foothill will play host to OC’s top-ranked St. Margaret’s at Tustin High on Thursday at 7 p.m.