Boston, MA-The Eastern Junior Hockey League has entered the final stretch of the season and the battles for playoff positions have heated up and produced a number of surprising results.
The Portland Pirates traveled to Bridgewater, MA, and picked up a weekend sweep of the Boston Bandits, winning 4-3 on Saturday and 6-4 on Sunday.
The Springfield Pics hosted the North Division-leading Junior Bruins on Saturday and came away with a 3-2 win. The following day, the Pics fell in an upset at the hands of the Connecticut Oilers 3-1.
In their other action, the Bruins downed the Valley Jr. Warriors 3-2 in Haverhill on Sunday.
The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs traveled to Tyngsboro and edged the Islanders Hockey Club 2-1 on Friday thanks to Dan Avellanet's overtime goal. The weekend, however, ended on a down note for the Monarchs on Saturday in Haverhill as they fell to the Valley Jr. Warriors.
The Bay State Breakers held onto third place in the South with an impressive 5-3 win over the Islanders Hockey Club on Saturday.
The Jersey Hitmen have closed in on the Southern Division title with a home-and-home sweep over the Connecticut Oilers. In the opening match, a Thursday night meeting in Norwalk, the Hitmen rode a strong second period to a 3-2 win. Friday saw the series move to New Jersey and saw the Hitmen emerge victorious 6-2 thanks to huge games by Jason Stephanik (2 goals) and Dominic Trento (4 assists).
The Rochester Stars swept the Philadelphia Revolution in their series over the weekend. Bob Sokol scored twice for the Stars, including in overtime, to lead the hosts to a 4-3 win despite Jake Kreutzer's hat trick. Sunday saw Will Massey pitch a 25-save shutout to lead Rochester to a 4-0 win.
Apple Core traveled to Foxboro for a pair with the South Shore Kings but fell short both days. Saturday saw Chris Calnan net a hat trick to power the Kings to a 6-4 win. The Kings completed the sweep on Sunday behind Robert Levin's 38-save shutout.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: The Monarchs host the Boston Bandits on Friday at 6:00 PM before hosting Rochester for a weekend series. The Bruins host Rochester on Friday at 8:20 PM and then travel to Portland for two games against the Pirates. Apple Core hosts the Islanders for a pair over the weekend. Bay State heads down to New Jersey for a weekend series against the Hitmen. Springfield hosts the Oilers on Saturday at 6:20 PM and the Bandits on Sunday at 12:20 before traveling to Norwalk on Wednesday for a 7:00 PM rematch with the Oilers. Valley hosts Philadelphia for a weekend series and the Hitmen host Apple Core on Wednesday at 5:00 PM. All games will be broadcast on FastHockey.com.
COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Tim Searles of the Portland Jr. Pirates will attend Babson College in the fall.
ALUMNI UPDATE: Sam Marotta (Merrimack College/ South Shore Kings) was named Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week. Joey Diamond (University of Maine/ New York Apple Core), Kyle Mountain (University of Vermont/ New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), and K.J. Tiefenwerth (University of Massachusetts/ Junior Bruins) were named to the Top Performers list. Tyler Bouchard (University of Connecticut/ Springfield Pics), Jake Bolton (Holy Cross/ Monarchs), Brandon Nunn (Holy Cross/ Boston Bandits), Nick Jones (Mercyhurst University/ Jersey Hitmen), and Josh Watson (RIT/ Springfield) were named to the Atlantic Hockey Weekly Honor Roll.
EJHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player of the Week
Dominic Trento (Jersey Hitmen)
EJHL leading scorer Dominic Trento has been on fire of late, registering 14 points in his last five games. This past week, Trento notched 6 points against the Connecticut Oilers, including a 4-assist performance in Saturday's 6-2 victory. The Brockport, NY, native and EJHL southern division all-star is garnering much division one interest.
Defensive Player of the Week
Linus Lundin (Springfield Pics)
Linus continued his stellar play in net for the Pics in their two games last weekend. He turned away 35 shots in the Pics' 3-2 win over the high-powered Junior Bruins on Saturday. On Sunday, he made 52 saves in a 3-1 loss to the Connecticut Oilers. Linus, a native of Stockholm, Sweden, currently boasts a 2.83 goals against average and a .920 save percentage along with over 1100 saves this season.
Rookie of the Week
Chris Calnan (South Shore Kings)
Chris had an excellent showing in last weekend's series against Apple Core. He began the weekend with a hat trick in the Kings' 6-4 win on Saturday. Sunday saw the Norwell, MA, native turn in another fine performance with a goal and an assist. In 29 games this season, the 1994-born forward has scored 24 goals and added 19 assists. He was selected in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks and will attend Boston College in the fall.