The Valley Jr Warriors '97 Elites capped off a week of play at the Bauer Challenge Cup by claiming the top spot in the consolation bracket.
Although the Warriors - which posted a 5-1 overall record - did not advance to the championship bracket (the team lost out in a tiebreaker), they made the most of their time by winning their last five games against some of North America's top talent including the Toronto Jr Canadians, Brampton Battalion and Toronto Titans.
In that consolation bracket final, the Warriors defeated the Toronto Nationals by a score of 4-2.
In what was an impressive team performance from start to finish, the team was led offensively by four players who finished in the top eight in overall scoring for the tournament. Noah Hanifin led the way by netting 11 goals and four assists in six games, while Cam Askew (5-6--11), Casey Fitzgerald (3-4--7) and Eric MacAdams (2-5--7) were also big contributors.
The only loss for the Warriors in the event proved to be a costly one as the team's day-one overtime defeat at the hands of the Sun County Panthers put them in a tie with three other teams for the final championship bracket spot. Despite the disappointment of not being able to challenge for the top spot, the Warriors came together and battled through the consolation bracket with victories against the North Jersey Avalanche, Toronto Titans and Toronto Nationals. Interestingly, the championship bracket finalist team was the Toronto Jr Canadians, a team the Warriors defeated by a score of 4-2 during the preliminary round robin portion of the event.
Here is a summary of the Valley Jr Warriors '97 Elites play at the 2009 Bauer Challenge Cup. December 27 Sun County Panthers def. Valley Jr Warriors, 3-2 (OT)
December 28 Valley Jr Warriors def. Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 4-2 Valley Jr Warriors def. Brampton Battalion, 7-2
December 29 Valley Jr Warriors def. North Jersey Avalanche, 8-1 Valley Jr Warriors def. Toronto Titans, 3-2 (OT)
December 30 Valley Jr Warriors def. Toronto Nationals, 4-2
2009 Bauer Challenge Cup - 12/30 Update The VJW '97 Elites continued their strong play on Tuesday as they posted two victories in the consolation bracket of the 2009 Bauer Challenge Cup.
After failing to advance to the championship round of play (the squad lost out in a tiebreaker), the Warriors wasted no time showing that they were still one of the best teams in the tournament. In the team's first game of the consolation round, the Warriors defeated the North Jersey Avalanche by a dominating score of 8-1.
The '97 Elites then used an overtime period to defeat the Toronto Titans, 3-2, to advance to the finals of the consolation round. The final challenge for the Warriors will be a showdown with the Toronto Nationals at 10:00 a.m.
2009 Bauer Challenge Cup - 12/29 Update The Valley Jr Warriors are proving that they are indeed one of the top Peewee teams in the nation. Following two days of action, the Warriors posted a 2-1 record which include strong victories against the Toronto Jr Canadians and Brampton Battalion.
In its first contest of the tournament, the VJW '97 Elites suffered a tough 3-2 overtime loss against the Sun County Panthers. The squad made up for that stinging loss by posting a 4-2 win over the Toronto Jr Canadians and then a 7-2 victory against the Brampton Battalion.
Despite the team's strong play, the Warriors did not advance to the championship bracket as they lost out in a tiebreaker. There is still much work to be done, however, as the VJW '97 Elites will look to win three more games and capture the top spot in the consolation bracket. The squad will look to take part in two games on Tuesday (the first contest will be a showdown with the North Jersey Avalanche) and then the consolation bracket final game on Wednesday.
"To lose in a tiebreaker is a tough pill to shallow and the kids are disappointed," said Steve MacAdams, the VJW Director of Program Development who also serves as an assistant coach for the ’97 Elites. “We came into this tournament looking to play six games and hopefully we will continue to play well and still play those six games."
2009 Bauer Challenge Cup - Event Preview There will be no rest for the weary following Christmas Day for one Valley Jr Warriors squad. The ’97 Elites will hit the road on December 26 and head north to take part in one of the most prestigious tournaments in North America.
The Warriors are one of just four teams from the United States that were selected to compete in the 2009 Bauer Challenge Cup. Sponsored and managed by the Greater Toronto Hockey League, this annual event brings together a field of the continent’s top Peewee AAA Canadian and American teams.
“Every game will be competitive and that is something that the coaches are looking forward to,” said Steve MacAdams, the VJW Director of Program Development who also serves as an assistant coach for the ’97 Elites. “We team are excited to see how our players respond to the challenge, but no matter what it will certainly make us a stronger team heading into the final months of the season.”
Thus far it has been a season to remember for the young squad as they have posted a 17-0 record in Massachusetts State Select League play. Over the course of that perfect stretch, the Warriors have scored 161 goals and allowed just 11 for a jaw-dropping 150 goal differential. Snuggled in between those league wins were a divisional title at the 2009 Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament, two strong wins over national powerhouse Team Comcast and a three-victory performance at the 2009 Bauer International Invitational.
The team will no doubt face its greatest challenge next week when it heads to the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The Valley Jr Warriors will compete in Division 3 alongside the Jr Canadians, Brampton Battalion and Sun County Panthers. In total, seven of the top 10 teams listed in the current Ontario 97 AAA Rankings – including the top-ranked Toronto Marlboros – will be in action next weekend.
While the list of teams competing in this year’s event is impressive, the quality of talent that has competed in this tournament is unmatched. Since 1978, graduates of the 2009 Bauer Challenge Cup (formerly known as the Bell Challenge Cup) include Steven Stamkos, Jason Spezza, Patrick Kane, Brendan Shanahan, Joe Sakic, Rick Nash, Mike Cammalleri, Tood Bertuzzi, Marty Turco, to name just a few.
The tournament consists of a round-robin format with each team being guaranteed four games. The fourth game comes at the conclusion of the Preliminary round where the 1st and 2nd place teams in each of the four divisions advance to the Quarter-Finals of the Championship round.
Here is a schedule of play for the Valley Jr Warriors
December 27 12:00 p.m. – Valley Jr Warriors vs Sun County Panthers
December 28 10:30 a.m. – Valley Jr Warriors vs Jr. Canadiens 6:00 p.m. – Valley Jr Warriors vs Brampton Battalion