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The Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey team will take part in the 2011 High School National Championships this week.
Los Alamos, one of the top teams in New Mexico, opens the national tournament with pool play staring Wednesday. Los Alamos has three scheduled games next week and, should it survive through next Sunday, would play for the national title.
The tournament will be played in Bensenville, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, near Lake Michigan.
The Hilltoppers are one of four teams in their pool. They will play Huntsville, Ala., Tuesday night, Greenville North (N.C.) Wednesday morning and Omaha, Neb., Thursday morning.
Los Alamos finished as the runner-up in the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League regular season in 2010-11. Los Alamos posted a record of 15-2-1 during the season and earned the No. 2 seed in the Year-End Tournament last month.
The state championship was won by the Taos Ice Tigers, but the Tigers had announced during the regular season they would be unable to travel to the national tournament even if they ended up winning state.
Instead, the Hilltoppers will be filling in at the national event.
Los Alamos was led this season offensively by Jade Castello, who scored 26 goals in 12 games played this season, nearly three times as many as the next-best Hilltopper goal-scorers. Chase Havemann and Brett Snow both earned nine goals in 2010-11.
Defensively, Devin Grider was among the league’s top goaltenders during the regular season, allowing just 1.44 goals per contest. Grider was named the Great Wall — the top goaltender in the Year-End Tournament — as well this season.