Junior Hockey Playoffs Conclude in Haverhill
vjw_juniorb_030709.jpgThe Haverhill Valley Forum has been the site of exciting playoff action.

Beginning on Friday, two of the top junior hockey leagues in the region have competed in playoff games in order to crown champions for the 2008-09 season. The Empire Hockey and Eastern Junior Hockey Leagues selected the Haverhill Valley Forum as the site of the quarterfinal and semifinal playoffs, respectively. The third and final day of play will feature games which will determine the Final Four for the Empire League and the final two for the EJHL.

Read on for a summary of all the action from Friday and Saturday.

EMPIRE HOCKEY LEAGUE - www.empirehockey.com

Click here to view an updated Empire Hockey League Playoff Bracket 

Sunday Game Summaries

NH Monarchs 3, Bay State Breakers 0
The NH Monarchs scored twice in the first period and never looked back en route to a 3-0 blanking of Bay State. As a result of the victory, the Monarchs earned a spot in the league’s Final Four. Ryan Randall put the Monarchs on the board first at the 6:18 mark of the first period. Tim Baxter, off a feed from Andrew Dadds, increased the lead to 2-0 with less than a minute left in the first period. Following a scoreless second period, Logan Gregoire posted a power-play tally at the 6:09 mark of the third period to put his team ahead 3-0 and secure his team a spot in the next round.

Junior Bruins 5, NH Monarchs 2
Rocky Sweeney, Cody Learned, Brian Morgan, Zach Luczyk and Daniel Szerlip all scored to lead the Junior Bruins to a 5-2 victory over the NH Monarchs and to earn the team a spot in the Final Four. The Junior Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the second period and never looked back. The Monarchs closed the gap to one after Cam Robichaud netted a powerplay tally at the 15:39 mark of the second period. The Junior Bruins countered with less than a minute remaining in the period and then went on to outscore the Monarchs by a score 2-1 in the third and final period. Ryan Randall posted the Monarchs second goal, while netminder Josh Watson collected a game-high 48 saves in a losing effort. The Junior Bruins were unstoppable this weekend as the squad posted a perfect 3-0 record and outscored its opponents by a 15-to-5 margin.

Bay State Breakers 4, NE Huskies 3
In an offensively-charged game, the Bay State Breakers pulled out a key 4-3 victory over the NE Huskies in the Haverhill North Rink. Robert Dillon stole the show in net as he registered a weekend-high 59 saves to collect the victory for his team and set the stage for a deciding contest on Sunday evening with the NH Monarchs. The Huskies led for most of the game. Matt Lemire scored a power-play goal at the 14:31 mark of the first period to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. The teams exchanged goals in the second period. In the third period, it took the Breakers’ Robert Heath just 12 seconds to find the back of the net off a helper from Jordan Cookson and knot the game at two goals apiece. The Huskies responded quickly as Jeremy Fanning gave his Huskies team an edge just 1:36 mark of the third period. Dillon shut down Bay State from that point on, however, as he held the Huskies at bay and let teammate Steven Diamond take over offensively. Diamond scored two goals in the final 9:13 of play to give Bay State the victory.

Saturday Game Summaries

NH Huskies 4, Valley Jr Warriors 2
The Warriors saw their season end after the Huskies scored three unanswered goals to break a 1-1 tie. Mitch Morgan (1-2-3), Jeremy Fanning and John Brooks all scored during that stretch. Brendan McCarron was the first goal scorer for the Huskies, while Vinny Morris and Thomas Thompson scored for the Warriors in the losing effort. NH Monarchs 4, NE Falcons 2 Joseph Rackett scored twice and added one assist to pace his NH Monarchs team to a 4-2 win over the NE Falcons. Two of Rackett’s tallies – including an empty netter with 25 seconds remaining in regulation – came in the third period to counter individual goals by the Falcons’ Michael Carlson and Michael Shvtsoy.

Junior Bruins 5, Bay State Breakers 0
The Junior Bruins sizzled offensively in a 5-0 blanking of Bay State. Brian Morgan (2-0-2) scored twice and Sean McLaughlin and Logan Romano both finished with one goal and one assist to lead the way. Rocky Sweeney also added a goal, while Petie von Rosenvinge stopped all 31 saves en route to his shutout victory.

Bridgewater 5, South Shore 2
Bridgewater used five different goal scorers to lift it to a 5-2 win over South Shore. Bryce Irving put his team on the board first with a power-play goal at the 14:28 mark of the first period. South Shore, off of tallies by Ross White and Robert Reall, broke out to a 2-1 lead early in the second period, but Bridgewater went on to score twice in that second period (Tyler Cooke and Dan McGinnis were the goal scorers). Luke Frey and Chris Rettig finished off the scoring for Bridgewater early in the third period. Both teams kept the pressure on as Alexander Minnehan collected 49 saves in a losing effort, while Kevin Venturoso finished with 48 saves for Bridgewater.

Bay State Breakers 3, Bridgewater Bandits 2
Led by a two-goal and one-assist performance by Ben Murphy, the Bay State Breakers posted a 3-2 victory against the Bridgewater Bandits on Saturday night. After falling behind early in the first period – Cody Boulais scored just 45 seconds into the game for Bridgewater – Murphy evened the contest at the 17:04 mark of the first period. Murphy again came through again… this time scoring less than four minutes after Kyle Phelan scored for Bridgewater early in the second period. The third period was all Bay State as Phillip Maistrenko, off a Murphy helper, scored to seal the 3-2 win. In total, the Breakers pelted Bridgewater netminder Kevin Venturoso with 51 shots!

NE Huskies 6, NE Falcons 1
The NE Falcons scored midway through the first period, but that would be the only lead of the game as the NE Huskies went on to score six unanswered goals en route to a 6-1 victory on Saturday night. The Huskies were led by six different scorersPatrik Wikstrand, Brendan McCarron, Jake Brzuchalski, Daniel Roy, Jeremy Fanning and T.J. Dineen). Matthew Gould and Matt Lemire both finished with two assists, while Matt Snell collected the win in net after stopping 18 or 19 shots.

Friday Game Summaries

NH Monarchs 5, Valley Jr Warriors 3

The top-seeded Monarchs stormed back from an early 1-0 deficit to knock off the host Valley Jr Warriors by a score of 5-3. Following the first Warriors goal – at the 14:13 mark of the first period – the Monarchs posted four unanswered goals courtesy of Cam Robichaud, Ian Thill, Brett Mason and Joseph Rackett. The VJW squad pulled within one goal after Vinny Morris (1-1-2) and Derek McCoy scored within seven minutes of each other late in the second period. The Monarchs clamped down defensively in the third period, however, and held the Warriors scoreless through the final 21:19 to secure the victory. Jordan Messier netted his team’s fifth goal at the 4:20 mark to guarantee a spot in the winner’s bracket.

Junior Bruins 5, South Shore Kings 3
The Junior Bruins used a four-goal third period to pull out a 5-3 win over South Shore. The Kings jumped out to a 2-0 lead after netting two power-play goals. Ross White and Michael Kuhn combined for a goal and assist each en route to an early 2-0 lead. The tide turned late in the second period when Logan Romano collected a feed from Rocky Sweeney to get his Bruins team on the board with just seven seconds remaining in the second period. Frankie Vatrano, Zach Todd, Daniel Szerlip and Zach Sandonato all scored in the exciting third period for the Junior Bruins, which pelted South Shore netminder Greg Homer with 36 shots.

NE Falcons 5, NE Huskies 3
Daniel Miressi (2-1-3) and Cam Napolitan (2-1-3) both scored twice and Christopher Santaniello added a solo tally to help their NE Falcons pull out a 5-3 win over the NE Huskies. The Falcons held off a strong offensive attack by the Falcons, which finished third in the Northeast Conference. The Falcons received offensive contributions from Daniel Roy, Kyle Demers and Brendan McCarron in the losing effort.

Bay State Breakers 3, Bridgewater Bandits 2
In a nail-biting evening contest, Ben Murphy found the back of the net at the 13:58 mark of overtime to propel his team to a key 3-2 victory over the Bridgewater Bandits. With just 2:35 left in regulation, Murphy played the role of hero when he posted an unassisted tally to give his team new life and force an overtime period. Both teams were scoreless in the first period. It wasn’t until Paul Riley scored with the man advantage at the 3:12 mark of the second period to put his Bay State team up by a score 1-0. Bridgewater responded with two unanswered goals courtesy of Andrew Smith and Jared Johnson. From that point on, it was the Ben Murphy
show as his two-goal performance lifted his team into the winner’s bracket.

EASTERN JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE - www.easternjunior.com

Sunday Game Summaries

New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs 6, Bay State Breakers 3
Brooks Herrington scored twice to lead the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs over the Bay State Breakers and into their sixth straight EJHL Championship Series. Kyle Beattie scored midway through the first period and Adam Kaiser potted a goal with 36 seconds left to give the Monarchs a 2-0 lead after one. Anthony Principato put the Breakers on the board 5:15 into the second with a power play goal, and Adam Mitchell scored on another power play in the twelfth minute to tie the game. The deadlock was short lived, as Brooks Herrington scored with 6:48 left in the frame to put the Monarchs back on top. Herrington scored his second of the game 1:43 into the third. Anton Kuznetsov cut the lead in half with a power play goal with 12:17 to play, but that was as close as the Breakers would come to tying the game. With 1:26 remaining, Erik Mihalik skated to the bench for an extra attacker, but Adam Shemansky and Jamie Ferullo each scored empty net goals in the final 1:09 to send the Monarchs onto Worcester.

Jersey Hitmen 3, Bridgewater Bandits 2 (OT)
The Jersey Hitmen defeated the Bridgewater Bandits in their EJHL Semifinal Series to continue their Dineen Cup title defense and set up a showdown with the Monarchs next weekend. Goaltenders Jon Morrow and Shane Talarico kept the teams off the board until Matt Gates lit the lamp with 1:52 remaining in the first. Steven Edgeworth answered for the Hitmen with six minutes remaining in the second. Tim King put the Bandits ahead with a tally just 44 seconds into the third, but Will Frederick countered 18 seconds later to knot the game. Neither team scored again in regulation, so the teams headed to overtime. Needing a win to force a mini-game and keep the season a live, the Bandits pulled Talarico with 1:10 on the clock. The move backfired as Jeremy Langlois shot the puck into the empty net to end the Bandits’ season and send the Hitmen back to the Dineen Cup Finals.

Saturday Game Summaries

New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs 6, Bay State Breakers 4
Despite spotting the Breakers a 2-0 lead and trailing 4-3 entering the third period, the Monarchs rallied and defeated Bay State 6-4 in the first game of their semifinal series. Adam Mitchell led off the scoring five minutes into the game, and Josh Harris added another goal midway through the period. With 2:02 left in the first, Kyle Mountain put the Monarchs on the board, followed closely by a Kyle Beattie tally. Brice O’Connor netted a goal with six seconds left to give the Monarchs the lead. Sean Foley tied the game 4:55 into the second, and Mike Crowder scored with 7:19 on the clock to put Bay State ahead. Mountain lit the lamp 3:12 into the third to tie the game, and barely one minute later, Adam Shemansky gave the Monarchs the lead for good. Brooks Herrington added an empty net goal with 15 seconds left to seal the victory.

Jersey Hitmen 6, Bridgewater Bandits 2
The Jersey Hitmen scored five unanswered goals to defeat the Bridgewater Bandits 6-2. Garet Chumley scored the only goal of the first period to give the Hitmen the early lead. Larry Bero tied the game 1:58 into the second, and John Tague scored a power play goal less than two minutes later to put the Bandits on top. Alex Cantor, however, tied the game with a power play goal of his own in the eighth minute of the period. Nick Geraci put the Hitmen over the top early in the third, and Jeremy Langlois stretched the lead to two at the 4:02 mark. After killing off a 5-on-3, the Hitmen received an insurance goal from Corey Callen with 3:40 to play. Langlois scored an empty netter with 1:15 remaining to ice the game.

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