Breakers hand Hitmen first loss, Springfield extends winning streak to nine
By Mike Klein
Boston, MA- After a well-deserved holiday break, the Eastern Junior Hockey League was back in action last week and when the dust settled, the Bay State Breakers handed the Jersey Hitmen their first loss of the season.
Prior to the loss, the Hitmen beat the Philadelphia Revolution at home in a 27-save shutout by Josh Hillegas. The Hitmen then traveled to Kingston, MA, to play the Bay State Breakers and picked up another win on Saturday before bowing 5-4 on Sunday.
The Revolution then headed to Vermont for a pair with the Green Mountain Glades. Philadelphia took the first game 6-5, but the Glades rebounded in round two for a 5-2 win to pick up a split.
The Northern Division-leading New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs hit some speed bumps at the end of last month but started the New Year off on the right foot with three home wins; one over the Valley Jr. Warriors on Thursday, and two over the Rochester Stars over the weekend.
The Springfield Pics added to their nine-game winning streak with a 6-4 win over the South Shore Kings on Saturday.
South Shore, however, returned home and rebounded with a win over their regional rival the Bridgewater Bandits.
The Huskies traveled to Long Island for a pair with New York Apple Core and came away with a split. The Huskies took the opening game 3-2. Richard Harris (2-1-3), Marcus Mitchell (1-1-2), and Ben Pearl (0-2-2) paced the team in Saturday’s win. Sunday’s contest saw twelve different Apple Core players find the scoresheet en route to a 6-4 win.
The Junior Bruins kept pace in the North with a sweep over the Capital District Selects over the weekend in Marlboro.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: Apple Core host the Hitmen on Thursday at 7:00 PM before playing a pair in Springfield against the Pics on Friday and Saturday. The Hitmen then host the Valley Jr. Warriors for two games over the weekend. The Junior Bruins host the Green Mountain Glades for a weekend series and the Huskies on Wednesday night at 8:00. Prior to the Bruins game, the Huskies host the Capital District Selects for a weekend series. The Rochester Stars travel to Bridgewater for two games against the Bandits, and the Bay State Breakers host the Philadelphia Revolution in a pair of tilts at the Bog in Kingston, MA.
COLLEGE COMMITMENTS: A pair of Bay State Breakers have made their college decisions: Zach Lynch will play at Robert Morris University in 2012 and Blake Dougherty will enroll at Bentley University in the fall. Two Monarchs also committed: Ryan Randall will play for his hometown University of New Hampshire Wildcats and Cody Sharib will become a UCONN Husky. Will Rayner became the first Philadelphia Revolution player to make a Division One commitment as he heads to Sacred Heart in the fall. Springfield’s J.D. Carrabino will play for Clarkson University, and Craig Pierce of the Rochester Stars will play for Alabama-Huntsville. Mike Janson of the Jersey Hitmen has committed to Assumption College for 2011.
VOTE FOR HOBEY: Riley Wetmore (UMASS-Lowell/ Green Mountain Glades), Brian Haczyk (Niagara University/ Jersey Hitmen), and the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs trio of Ian O’Connor (Providence College), Paul Thompson (University of New Hampshire), and Denny Kearney (Yale University) appear on the opening ballot for the 2011 Hobey Baker Award.
ALUMNI UPDATE: Brian Flynn (University of Maine/ New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs) was named Hockey East Player of the Week. John Henrion (University of New Hampshire/ Junior Bruins), T.J. Syner (UMASS/ Springfield Pics), and former Monarchs Justin Gates (Providence College) and Paul Thompson (UNH) were named to the Top Performers list. Monarchs alum James Mello (Dartmouth College) was nominated for ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week. Brian Haczyk (Niagara/ Jersey Hitmen) was named Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week and Joe Calvi (Bentley University/ New England Huskies) was named to the weekly honor roll.
EJHL Players of the Week
Offensive Player of the Week
Brian Sheehan (Jersey Hitmen)
Brian, the EJHL’s leading scorer, turned in another impressive weekend. In 3 league contests Brian scored 4 goals and added 3 assists for 7 points. In the Hitmen 9-3 victory over Bay State Sheehan recorded his 2nd hat trick of the year. He is a 1990-born native of St. Louis, MO, and is close to making his college decision.
Honorable Mention: Aaron Kesselman (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs)
Defensive Player of the Week
Ryan Randall (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs)
Ryan, a native of Durham, NH, continued to showcase his outstanding two-way play last week. In two games, Ryan posted a hat trick and an assist. The second-year player recently committed to his hometown team, the University of New Hampshire Wildcats.
Honorable Mention: Ian Coleman (Jersey Hitmen), John Neal (Rochester Stars)
Rookie of the Week
Tim Clifton (Jersey Hitmen)
Tim, a 1992-born native of Matawan, NJ, netted two power play goals and added four assists in the Hitmen’s three games last week. He started the week off with two assists in the win over Philadelphia and followed that with a goal and two assists in a win over Bay State. He ended with a goal over Bay State in Sunday’s loss. Tim boasts 32 points on the season and a twelve-game scoring streak along with a 3.5 grade point average.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Venturoso (Bridgewater Bandits)