Hitmen clinch Southern Division, Monarchs and Bruins punch playoff tickets
Boston, MA- Though the EJHL has not entered the final month of competition, the Jersey Hitmen, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, and Junior Bruins have all clinched spots in the 2011 EJHL Dineen Cup Playoffs.
The Hitmen, who have lost only one game all season, started off the week with a 5-2 win over New York Apple Core and finished with a two-game sweep over Valley. The six points proved to be enough for the Hitmen to remain at the top of the division regardless of how the rest of the season plays out.
After the Hitmen game, Apple Core traveled to Springfield for a pair with the Pics. The hosts won the opening contest on Friday and led by two going into the final period on Saturday, but Apple Core rallied and won the game when Dillon Fox scored midway through the overtime period.
In the Northern Division, the idle Monarchs and the Junior Bruins have both clinched playoff bids, but the race to the top is far from settled. The Bruins swept the Green Mountain Glades to stay within five points of the Monarchs with twelve games remaining.
Bay State kept their hold on second place in the South with a win and tie against Philadelphia. The Breakers, led by Mark Lucatra’s two goals and Kyle MacDonald’s 36 saves, took the opening contest 4-1. On Sunday, the Revolution fought back from a 3-1 hole with two goals late in the second period to force a tie.
Capital District traveled to Tyngsboro, MA, for a pair with the Huskies and came away with a split. Dan Mazzei (2-2-4) and Matt Lemire (1-2-3) led the Huskies to a 5-3 win on Saturday despite Brian Robbins’ 45-save performance. Robbins (41 saves) turned in another gem on Sunday, and this time, Dan Meiselman (2 goals) and his teammates kept the Huskies at bay and won 3-2.
The Bridgewater Bandits hosted the Rochester Stars for two games and picked up three points. Bridgewater won 3-1 on Saturday, but could not keep the Stars down on Sunday, as Rochester took the second game 4-3 in overtime, with Zach White ending this one 1:08 into the extra session.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: The Monarchs host the Green Mountain Glades on Thursday afternoon and then the Jersey Hitmen for two games over the weekend. The Glades then head to Albany for a weekend series with the Capital District Selects. The Valley Jr. Warriors host Bridgewater on Thursday night and visit Bay State on Saturday before returning home for a tilt with Philadelphia on Sunday at 1:10 PM. The Bruins host Philadelphia on Saturday at 4:30 PM before heading to Bridgewater at noon on Sunday. Apple Core hosts the South Shore Kings for a pair over the weekend. The Rochester Stars visit the Huskies for two games, and the Bay State Breakers visit the Springfield Pics on Sunday at 1:30. All games will be broadcast live on FastHockey.com.
COLLEGE COMMITMENTS: Two Jersey Hitmen have made their college decisions: Matt Willows will be a New Hampshire Wildcat in the fall and John Nauta will begin play at Quinnipiac University in 2012.
ALUMNI UPDATE: John DiSalvatore (Houston Aeros/ Springfield Pics) was nominated for AHL Player of the Week. Taylor Chace (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs) was named USOC Paralympic SportsMan of the Year. Anthony Bitetto (Northeastern University/ New York Apple Core) was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week. Charlie Coyle (Boston University/ South Shore Kings), Brian Dumoulin (Boston College/ New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Ryan Flanigan (Merrimack College/ Bay State Breakers), Matt Germain (Providence College/ Monarchs), T.J. Syner (UMASS/ Springfield Pics), and Riley Wetmore (UMASS-Lowell/ Green Mountain Glades) were named to the top performers list. Chris Noonan (Niagara University/ Rochester Stars) was named to the Atlantic Hockey Weekly Honor Roll.
EJHL Players of the Week
Offensive Player of the Week
Jesse Petito (Jersey Hitmen)
Jesse had a huge week, scoring two goals and adding five assists for seven points. His two goals came in his team’s matchup with Apple Core and included the game-winner. In the weekend series against the Valley Jr. Warriors, Jesse picked up two assists on Saturday and three more on Sunday. The Ronkonkama, NY native currently sits at 13th in EJHL scoring.
Honorable Mention: Matt Vidal (Bay State Breakers), Steven Swavely (Jersey Hitmen)
Defensive Player of the Week
Ian Coleman (Jersey Hitmen)
Ian, a 1991-born defenseman, continued to showcase his two-way ability with a goal and four assists in three games. He is the top scoring defenseman in the EJHL with 26 points and boasts a six-game point-scoring streak that includes every game played in 2011. Ian is a native of Northport, NY.
Honorable Mention: Kyle MacDonald (Bay State Breakers), Gordon Ceasar (Rochester Stars)
Rookie of the Week
John DeFeo (New York Apple Core)
John had a game for the ages in Apple Core’s 7-6 win over the Springfield Pics on Saturday with two goals and three assists. Down 2-0, he helped ignite the rally with an assist. He picked up a goal and three assists in the second period and knocked in the game-tying goal with 3:34 remaining in the third. John, a 1992-born native of Glen Head, NY, played for Apple Core’s national championship-winning Empire League team last season.
Honorable Mention: Matt Solomon (Bridgewater Bandits)