The 2018-2019 season was an outstanding one for the Tri-Valley ice hockey club. Six teams - 10UA, 12UA, 12UBB, 16UA-1, 16UA-2 and 18UA - earned a spot to represent Tri-Valley at the NorCal Playoffs. Two of them, the 12UA and 16UA-1 won the NorCal Championship, and the16UA-2 team was a finalist. The teams then advanced to the CAHA State Playoffs where they fought serious completion and proved they were best in the state. The Tri-Valley 12UA and 16UA-2 teams were crowned the CAHA State Champions and 16UA-1 became a finalist, which made Tri-Valley the only club in California to have more than one team capture the CAHA State Championship title this year.
The Tri-Valley Blue Devils 12UA team have a lot to be thankful for his season as they won both NorCal and CAHA State titles. The team, coached by the coaching staff of Bill Davis in his 30th year of coaching, Mitch Sill, Tim Harkness, Quin Harker, Dustin Van Feet and Amelia DiPaola Robinson, finished the regular season with a 14-2-2 record, tied for the first place.
The team went undefeated in the NorCal playoffs, starting off with a tough game against the Stockton Colts winning the game on a late goal by DJ Van Fleet. The team then went on to beat Oakland and then faced the San Jose Jr. Sharks 12A-2 team with a berth in the championship game on the line. The Blue Devils came out firing, taking an early 2-0 lead that they would not relinquish. They would win a tough fought game 5-3 and would move on to the NorCal championship game. The Blue Devils would have a rematch against the Jr. Sharks in the championship game. The defense for Tri-Valley was relentless in this game, limiting the Sharks to only 11 shots on goal. The Blue Devils would win the game 2-0 and would celebrate not only the NorCal championship but also a berth in the CAHA State playoffs.
The team would begin their preparation for the CAHA State Playoffs, with a chance to play the best teams from across California. However, they got devastating news the day before the playoffs would begin. They learned that one of their leaders, DJ Van Fleet, had to have surgery to have his appendix removed. Support for DJ poured out from the team and they all came together with the goal to win the championship for DJ. All the players would don the #4 on their helmets to honor their teammate.
The Blue Devils would play the California Heat in the first game of the CAHA playoffs. Things looked good early, with the Blue Devils taking an early lead in the game. However, the Heat would battle back and win that first game.
Game 2 was against a tough LA Jr. Kings team. The Blue Devils knew they had to win to keep their championship hopes alive. The game was another tough back and forth battle. The Blue Devils looked to have the game won, but then the Jr. Kings tied the game in the third period. With thoughts of playoff elimination on the line, the Blue Devils continued to battle and broke through with a goal with 3 minutes left in the game by Sofia Pittis to give them the lead and the win.
Tri-Valley team then had another rematch with the Jr. Sharks. The Blue Devils needed to get at least into overtime to get into the championship game. The game against the Sharks was a tough battle and with time running down they had to kill a late penalty to keep the Sharks off the board and take the game into overtime tied 1-1. They would lose the game in the shootout, but the euphoria on the bench was evident as the team learned that by getting the overtime point, they were now in the CAHA Championship game.
The CAHA championship game was a rematch with the California Heat. The Blue Devils would come out again and take a fast 3-0 lead in the game. However, the Heat would not give up, and fought back to tie the game 3-3 at the end of the first period. The second period was a tight one, with Tri-Valley team scoring the only goal to take a 4-3 lead into the 2nd period intermission. The team would regroup during the intermission and would come out blazing in the third period taking over the game, scoring 4 goals with Luke Brandon scoring 4 in the game, and running away with an impressive 8-3 win to take the CAHA State Championship.
Head Coach Bill Davis summed up the season and the playoffs this way: “This was a team that worked hard from day 1. The worked hard and improved as the season went along and even though adversity of losing DJ for the state playoffs, they came together and won for him and each other. It was a great season and a great group of kids!”
The Tri-Valley Blue Devils 12UA scored 91 goals during the regular season driven by forwards: Luke Brandon, Kailey Favro, Sala Fernandez, Will Harker, Dexter Harkness, Austin Luciani, Nolan Moore, Sofia Pittis, Jake Powers, Kory Self, Parker Sexton and DJ Van Fleet. On defense this was a stingy group allowing an average of only 11 shots a game and giving up only 27 goals. The defense was led by: Jonathan Adrian, Cameron Candelaria, Joseph Jupina, Jakob King and Michael Reich. In goal with a 1.56 Goals against average was Kaleb Mann.