East Lake’s hockey team won the Tier-I state championship over the weekend, beating Cypress Bay 7-1 in the final.
The Eagles are the first high school team from the bay area to advance to the USA Hockey national high school championships in Coral Springs March 20-23.
Tier-I teams are considered pure club programs with players all from the same school.
“It was a great accomplishment for our program to win something like this,” East Lake coach Jim Anna said. “This is the first time after 15 years of high school hockey in the area that were able to win state.
“And the score was something I never expected. We played (Cypress Bay) in the preliminaries and lost in a shootout. So I expected another tight game.”
The Eagles’ offense shined against a defense that had given up 21 goals all season. East Lake scored in every period in the final and broke the game open with five goals in a nine-minute span in the second. Austin Teal and Alex de la Paz each had two goals to lead the Eagles.
“I think everyone was in shock after the second period,” Anna said. “We were up 6-0.”
It’s been a banner year for East Lake. Last month, the Eagles defended their Lightning Conference Cup title, beating Mitchell 3-1. Teal was the catalyst, scoring two goals in the conference cup final, including the winner. He leads the team in goals (34) and points (60) this season.
“Teal was unbelievable in the state tournament, but so were a lot of others, “ Anna said. “We had a lot of scorers.”