Boston, MA- The Eastern Junior Hockey League enters its final week, and while all playoff advancements have been determined, all but four seeds remain up for grabs.
The Junior Bruins grabbed the Northern Division crown thanks to a five-point weekend, starting with a 3-1 triumph over the Bay State Breakers. On Saturday, they handed the Jersey Hitmen their first loss since November, winning 2-1 to snap the Hitmen's 18-game winning streak. On Monday, the Bruins fell in overtime to the South Shore Kings 5-4.
The Hitmen rebounded with a 6-4 win over South Shore.
Bay State got back on track with two wins over Connecticut Oilers. Ben Halford stopped all 35 shots he faced on Saturday and the Breakers kept rolling with a 6-3 win on Sunday.
The Islanders Hockey Club inched closer to the other first-round bye in the North with a hard-fought sweep over the Rochester Stars. Saturday's contest ended 3-2 thanks to Chris Izmirlian's overtime goal, while Sunday saw the Islanders win 5-4 in a shootout.
The Valley Jr. Warriors kept themselves in the running for second in the North with a two-game sweep over the Portland Jr. Pirates. Only two points separate the Islanders and Warriors, and those two teams meet to finish the season.
The Boston Bandits started their weekend off by bowing 3-1 to the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs at home. The trip to New York, however, righted the ship, as the Bandits won 2-1 on Saturday in a shootout before taking Sunday's contest 6-3.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: The Boston Bandits travel to Tyngsboro on Friday to play the Islanders at noon before returning home to host the Hitmen in a weekend series. The Oilers visit the Monarchs in Hooksett for two games. Valley travels to Springfield on Friday for a 7:30 PM tilt. Portland visit Rochester for a pair over the weekend. Philadelphia hosts South Shore for a weekend series. The Islanders visit Valley on Sunday at 1:00 PM to finish the regular season. All games will be broadcast on FastHockey.com.
ALUMNI UPDATE: Derek Arnold (UMASS-Lowell/ Junior Bruins) was named Hockey East Player of the Week. Sam Marotta (Merrimack College/ South Shore Kings) was named Defensive Player of the Week. Vinny Scotti (Merrimack/ Bruins), Riley Wetmore (Lowell/ Green Mountain Glades), and University of Maine teammates Joey Diamond (New York Apple Core) and Steve Swavely (Jersey Hitmen) were named to the Top Performers list. Robert Morris University teammates and Bay State Breakers alumni Zac Lynch and Colin South were named to the Atlantic Hockey Weekly Honor Roll. Max Novak (Union College/ Jersey Hitmen) was nominated for ECAC Hockey Player of the Week.
EJHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player of the Week
Garrett Cox (Islanders Hockey Club)
Garrett scored three goals and added four assists for a 7-point weekend. He had a five-point game (hat trick and two assists) against Portland and followed that with a two assist night, including one on the game-winner in overtime over Rochester. The Dallas Stars AAA alum has been great in the second half of the year and a lot is expected of the Texas native down the stretch and in playoffs.
Honorable Mention: Michael Jamieson (Islanders Hockey Club)
Defensive Player of the Week
Colton Phinney (Islanders Hockey Club)
Colton made 95 saves and earned three wins over the weekend including one in overtime and another the next day in a shootout stopping all three shooters he faced. He stopped 28 out of 30 on Wednesday, 33 od 35 on Saturday, and 34 out of 38 on Sunday to give the Islanders all they needed for a six-point weekend. The Princeton recruit has had a very strong second half and will be tough to beat down the stretch.
Honorable Mention: John Neal (Rochester Stars)
Rookie of the Week
Josh Henke (Jersey Hitmen)
Josh Henke had an amazing game Sunday versus the South Shore Kings. In the Hitmen 6-4 victory, Henke figured in five of the six Hitmen goals. Henke lit the lamp twice and added three helpers to eclipse the 60 point mark. The 1994-born University of Maine recruit is making a strong push for EJHL rookie of the year honors.
Honorable Mention: Shaun Patry (Rochester Stars)