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COMMUNITY SPORTS

Lincoln youth hockey players take their game to State

Two locals prefer blades to cleats
By: Jim Linsdau of The News Messenger
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Lincoln’s growing scope of athletics has two young hockey players that helped take their team to the California Amateur Hockey Association State Tournament.

Christian Agostino (11) and Chase Dunkinson (12) have decided they are more comfortable on ice than on a field or the hardwood. They proved that this season by helping take the Capital Thunder Peewee B team to Riverside after finishing as runners-up in the Nor Cal Tournament.

“One day, my dad turned on the TV and it was hockey and I really liked the sport,” said Agostino, as to how he got into hockey. “I told my dad I wanted to play hockey and he found out this skating rink was about 20 minutes away from where I am, and so we went there.”

Agostino said his mother, a figure skater, taught him to skate when he was 3. Although he did try baseball, it did not appeal to him as did hockey.

Agostino’s grandfather Jack Beukema was the original founder of the local youth hockey club. Beukema started it when he and his wife moved to the area and his son became bored with baseball and soccer.

Beukema found a skating rink in Sacramento on which to practice. However, they played their games on a regulation-sized rink in Stockton.

“We moved from Arizona to here and I looked into a hockey club and there wasn’t one. And I started what was first called the Sacramento Flames,” said Beukema. “Then in the mid-90s, a gentleman built the Skatetown ice rinks. He took over the club and renamed it the Capital Thunder.”

The club has teams that range in age from 8-18. The teams are Squirts, Peewee, Bantam and Midget. Agostino will play one more year for the Peewee team.

His teammate Chase Dunkinson will move up to the Bantam division next season. Dunkinson is 12 and a student at Twelve Bridges Middle School.

Dunkinson was almost a natural for the sport since his father played hockey. The Peewee right wing said he tried baseball, but plans to concentrate on hockey and play the game through high school.

“It’s really an awesome sport and just being with all my friends,” Dunkinson said, as to why he chose hockey. “(We have) a lot of team chemistry and our friendship keeps us all together.”

The Peewee’s season started in September and the club was 2-1-1 in preseason play, and lost an exhibition game to South Lake Tahoe.

The Capital Thunder Peewee team opened the regular season with five straight wins, including a 17-1 drubbing of Santa Clara. But over the next four games, the club went 1-3 and was 4-5 from Nov. 16 through Jan. 31.

The team then regrouped to win their final four regular season games and advanced to the Nor Cal Tournament.

The Capital Thunder clinched a spot in the State Tournament by making it into the championship game. They lost to Tri Valley 2-1 in overtime and suffered a similar fate at State in Riverside to finish fourth.

More on the Capital Thunder Youth Hockey organization can be found by going online to www.capitalthunder.org or visit www.skatetown-roseville.com.