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By Zach Cavanagh

The Capistrano Unified School District’s combined high school hockey team—the Capistrano Coyotes—made program history on Monday, April 19, as the team competed in its first national championship game.

In the USA Hockey High School Division II National Championship in Omaha, Nebraska, the Coyotes went out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, but the hometown Omaha Junior Lancers pushed back to force overtime, 4-4. Ten minutes into the extra session, Omaha scored off a faceoff to win the title, 5-4.

Capistrano went 4-1-1 overall in the tournament, with wins over teams from Kentucky, Utah, Colorado and Florida. The Coyotes qualified for the tournament by winning the CAHA High School Division 2A state championship in March.

The Coyotes’ San Clemente High School representative is senior defenseman Sean Coughlin. Coughlin posted two assists in the national tournament, including one in the title game.

Capistrano’s leading point-scorer in the tournament was Dana Hills junior defenseman Quinton McElligott, and the Coyotes’ leading goal scorer was senior Nathan Brunelle, who attends the Capistrano Connections school.

The Capistrano Coyotes have four games remaining in their Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League season and return to the ice on Thursday, April 22, against Orange Lutheran at Great Park Ice.

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