Three VJW Teams Bask in NEHL Championship Victories
The Valley Jr Warriors are basking in a championship-filled weekend as three of its teams captured New England Hockey League (NEHL) titles. Playoffs for the NEHL, one of the premier AAA Leagues in New England, were held on Sunday at the Haverhill Valley Forum and the host Warriors put on a show for the hometown crowd.
Capturing the top spot for the Warriors were the ’95 Elites (shown above celebrating after the Sunday victory), ’96 Selects and ’99 Elites. All three squads enjoyed a tremendous season in NEHL play and came through in the end by capturing the ultimate title prize.
Here is a summary of how those three teams found their way to the top of the podium.
The Road to the Championship – Bantam West
Valley Jr Warriors ’95 Elites 6, Cyclones ‘95s 3 Valley Jr Warriors ’95 Elites 8, Glades ‘95s 2 Valley Jr Warriors ’95 Elites 5, Seacoast ‘95s 1 (semifinal) Valley Jr Warriors ’95 Elites 4, Cyclones ‘95s 2 (final)
The Valley Jr Warriors ’95 Elites were the last ones off the ice on Sunday, but the celebration continued on for quite some time after the team came back from an early 2-0 deficit in the championship game to post a 4-2 win.
Earlier in the weekend, the Warriors flexed their offensive muscles by cruising past the Cyclones ‘95s, Glades ‘95s and Seacoast ‘95s to earn a spot in the finals. In that three-game stretch, the Warriors outscored their opponents by a 19-6 margin.
On Sunday afternoon, the Warriors faced their biggest challenge after the Cyclones took an early 2-0 lead in the first period. Shane Eiserman put the Warriors on the board at the 5:35 mark of the first period off an assist from Trip Franzese. Then, with just three seconds left in the second period, the Warriors tied the contest thanks to a tally by Craig Wallace. He was assisted by Justin Pimentel. The third period was all about the gold and blue as Tyler Duval and Craig Wallace scored and the Warriors defense held strong to secure the 4-2 victory.
It was as close to a perfect season as one could hope for as the Warriors posted an untouchable 28-0-1 record in the Bantam West division. The team scored 185 goals and allowed just 44 during that 29-game stretch.
The Road to the Championship – Peewee Central
Valley Jr Warriors ’96 Selects 3, Albany Jr River Rats 1 Valley Jr Warriors ’96 Selects 6, Falcons 97s 2 Valley Jr Warriors ’96 Selects 6, Red Rangers 97 1 (semifinal) Valley Jr Warriors ’96 Selects 5, Seacoast Spartans 4 (final)
The VJW ’96 Selects finished off the 2008-09 season with a 16-7-2 record in the Peewee Central divison. When it came playoff time, the Warriors saved their best for last as they skated to a dominating 4-0 round-robin record en route to the championship title. The team knocked off the Albany Jr River Rats ‘97s, Falcons ‘97s and then the Red Rangers ‘97s in the semifinals. Those key victories set the stage for the championship matchup against the Seacoast Spartans.
In that game, Kyle Brindamour and Ean Mendeszoon scored in a 14-second stretch in the third period to help the Warriors hang on to a 5-4 victory in the Haverhill South rink. The Warriors took an early 2-0 lead after Travis Wile and Mendeszoon found the back of the net. The Spartans went on to score two goals, off the sticks of Zander Allen and Dean Pratt, within 30 seconds of each other. The Warriors took a one-goal lead when Ryan Duval scored the lone goal of the second period. As it turned out the goals by Brindamour and Mendeszoon at the 13:13 and 11:12 marks, respectively, proved to be enough to fend off a two-goal period by the Spartans.
The Road to the Championship – Squirt Central Valley Jr Warriors ’99 Elites 2, Mill City ‘98s 2 Valley Jr Warriors ’99 Elites 5, Seacoast Spartans ‘98s 4 Valley Jr Warriors ’99 Elites 6, Red Rangers 3 Valley Jr Warriors ’99 Elites 4, Seacoast ;98s 3 (final)
The VJW '99 Elites Celebrate in Haverhill (above) After Defeating the Seacoast Spartans
In the Squirt Central division, the Valley Jr Warriors ’99 Elites came through in dramatic fashion with an exciting 4-3 win over the Seacoast Spartans. Heading into that afternoon contest, the Warriors had posted a 2-0-1 record with victories over the Seacoast Spartans, Red Rangers and a tie against Mill City.
In that championship game, the Warriors scored twice in the first and twice in the second period and held on for a 4-3 win over the Seacoast Spartans. Matt Quercia and Henry Resnicek scored in the first period, while Ben Mirageas and Eric Pedro notched goals in the second stanza. The Spartans tied the game at 2-2 after the first period after Ty Turgeon and Owen Elliot found their way past Warriors netminder Sean Mahan. The Spartans made things very interesting down the stretch when Austin Chasse collected a pass from Owen Elliot to bring his team within one goal. The Warriors would clamp down offensively to hold off the Spartans attack and pull out the championship victory!
The final win was a fitting finish to a dominating season which saw the Warriors post a division-best 15-2-3 record and score 98 goals in 20 league games.
Congratulations go out to all three Warriors teams on an impressive season-long effort!!