During the early stages of a season, a coach hopes his team competes well and learns something new every day. Winning tournaments is simply icing on the cake.
Bob Wesley, head coach of the Valley Jr Warriors ’96 Selects team, was thrilled to see his team compete and perform so well this past weekend at The Summer Cool-Off Tournament held in Hooksett, New Hampshire.
The Warriors posted a 3-1 record and then came through with a huge 4-3 overtime victory against the Springfield Pics in the championship game.
“I was very happy with the way we played,” said Wesley, who is enjoying his fifth year with the VJW program. “I was very happy with the way we played. We have some new players, but we moved the puck well and the boys jelled together quickly.”
The team began its title quest with identical 4-1 victories over the New England Bulldogs and the PT Bulldogs. On Saturday afternoon, the Warriors could not find a way past a strong Springfield Pics team as they suffered their first loss of the tournament – a 2-0 decision.
The players were able to work out the kinks the following morning as a 10-0 blanking of the Lowell Jr Riverhawks guaranteed them a spot in the final game and rematch with the Springfield Pics.
The players and coaching staff showed that they were ready for the ultimate challenge as they avenged the round-robin loss with an exciting 4-3 overtime victory to earn them the top spot and the title of 2009 champion.
“Throughout the tournament we had good production from all three lines,” said Wesley. “The defense controlled the back in our own defensive zone and made our break-out plays look text book at times. I am pleased to say that we have kids that work hard and good things happen when you work hard.”
In that deciding game, the Warriors jumped out to a 2-1 lead following the first period. Despite the fact that the Warriors had dominated play throughout most of the game, Springfield took a 3-2 lead with just two minutes left in regulation. When it looked like the Warriors would suffer a second loss in as many days, the team evened the contest with just 4.9 seconds left on the clock. When overtime arrived, the Warriors were ready for the challenge as they dominated play and finally found the back of the net at the 7:55 mark.
“I was very happy for the boys,” said Wesley. “It was a real gut check to see what this team is made of… I am expecting a lot of good things this year.”
Congratulations to all of the players on a job well done!
Forwards: Shane Driscoll, Kyle Brindamour, Kevin Regan, Nick Aleckna, Anthony Ceiri, Tabor Smith, Michael Wesley, Travis Wile, Steve Czarnota.
Defense: Jake Burns, Justin Daly, Joe Griffin, Tyler Costello, Conrad Jepson, Ryan Delaney.
Goalies: Erik Wurman, Justin Fortini