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Magical Season Comes to an End for VJW '97 Elites at USA Hockey Nationals
It was a magical season that ended just one game short of a national title.

The 2009-2010 season came to a close for the Valley Jr Warriors ’97 Elites on Saturday evening in New York when the Warriors fell to the Chicago Mission by a score of 6-3 in the semifinals of the USA Hockey Tier I National Championship.The season-ending loss came after the Warriors had battled through three round-robin games and one quarterfinal showdown in Buffalo this past week. Over the course of four days, the team had knocked off impressive competition in the form of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Connecticut Clippers and Kent Valley Rainiers. In the end, only two teams – ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the nation – proved that they could knock off the Warriors.


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The VJW '97 Elites began their national title quest on Wednesday with a 3-2 victory against a feisty Columbus Blue Jackets squad. Although the VJW ’97 Elites didn’t quite have their normal legs under them, the young squad found a way to pull out the victory. A second-day loss to the country’s top team – Compuware – was followed by a strong offensive showing on Friday in what was a win-or-go-home game. Needing a victory to advance to the playoffs, the Warriors outlasted the Connecticut Clippers by a score of 7-5 to earn a quarterfinal matchup with the Kent Valley Rainiers.

Despite coming off an 11-0 blanking of the Amherst Knights the day before, the Kent Valley Rainiers could not keep pace with Massachusetts State Champions as the Warriors skated to a 3-1 win and a semifinal berth. Making the win even more impressive for the Warriors was the fact that the Kent Valley Rainiers were the first Washington team in more than 30 years to represent the Pacific District at the USA Hockey Tier I National Championship and had to defeat the likes of national powerhouses such as the LA Selects and LA Jr Kings to earn a trip to New York.

In the first semifinal matchup, the Warriors were presented with a true challenge as the Chicago Mission was coming off a dominating season where the team advanced to the semifinals at the Reebok Little Caesars Tourney and Silver Sticks Tournament and the quarterfinals of the Nike Bauer International Invitational. Ranked third in Youth Hockey Report Rankings for most of the season, the Chicago Mission earned a spot in Buffalo after defeating the St. Louis Blues. Leading up to that championship victory against the Blues, the Mission had not been beaten since the team suffered two losses to the Blues in late January. They were also one of only two teams that had been able to beat the nation’s top team – Compuware - this past season.

Despite an impressive resume of accomplishments of their own, the Warriors unfortunately met their match on Saturday as the Chicago Mission pulled out the 6-3 victory and earned a chance to take on arch-rival Compuware in the Tier I 12-and-under national championship. The Chicago Mission scored five unanswered goals – two coming in each of the second and third periods – to break out to a lead that the Warriors could simply not overcome.

It has truly been a season of destiny for this talented squad which is led by head coach Paul Sacco and a talented crew of assistant coaches including the VJW Director of Player Development Steve MacAdams. The team began the season by winning the Warrior Showcase in August and then the Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament. They continued to challenge themselves by competing in some of the top youth tournaments in the country including the Nike Bauer International Invitational and the Bauer Challenge Cup in Ontario, Canada.

By winning the Massachusetts State Championship, the VJW ’97 Elites become the fifth Warrior team to win a Massachusetts Tier I Championships in seven years.

Congratulations to all of the players on a great season!

  • J.J. Layton, Peabody
  • Ryan McDonough, Andover
  • George Sennott, North Andover
  • Mike DiSciullo, Danvers
  • Harrison Markell, Andover
  • Jake McKenelley, Middleton
  • Casey Fitzgerald, North Reading
  • Zach Mirageas, Newburyport
  • Brent Hill, Lunenburg
  • Nick DiDuca, North Andover
  • Denis Bouzon, Andover
  • Nick Holt, Salem
  • Ryan LaCroix, Andover
  • Elijah Harris, Haverhill
  • Eric MacAdams, Salem
  • Garrett Pietz, Brentwood, NH
  • Noah Hanifin, Norwood
  • David Giunta, Lynnfield
  • Cam Askew, South Boston
INDEX
VJW U 16s Capture 2008 Massachusetts State Title
Valley Jr Warriors U-16s Capture Labor Day Title
Three VJW Teams Bask in NEHL Championship Victories
VJW '96 Selects Skate to Victory at Summer Cool-Off Tournament
Three VJW Teams Bask in NEHL Championship Victories
Valley Jr Warriors '99 Elites Capture WNS Title
Valley Jr Warriors '99 Selects Shine at WNS
King of What? - By Mike Lynch
Triumph and Courage - By Mike Lynch
Like Father Like Daughter; Alex Carpenter Is Carving Out Her Own Legacy
The Year to Remember Continues for Former VJW Player Chris Kreider
Valley Jr Warriors '96 Elites Shine at WNS
Keeping #5 Alive - By Mike Lynch
Tournament Action Returns to Haverhill in 2010
Apr 10, 10
Magical Season Comes to an End for VJW '97 Elites at USA Hockey Nationals
A Class Act - By Mike Lynch
VJW U 16 II Team Skates to State Championship Win
VJW '97 Elites Loss Sets Stage for Third Day Showdown at Nationals
VJW '97 Elites Post 3-2 Win Over Columbus at USA Hockey Nationals
VJW '97 Elites Arrive in New York; Prepare to Take On Nation's Best
Former VJW Junior A Player Colin Mulvey Captures NCAA National Title
VJW '97 Elites Prepare for USA Hockey Nationals
Chris Kreider - Former VJW Standout - Leads BC to NCAA Tournament
Nothing is Impossible - By Mike Lynch
Valley Jr Warriors Excel at Labor Day Face-Off Invitational
Former VJW Junior A Star Cucci Shines in Hockey East Battle
Valley Jr Warriors '97 Elites Capture WNS Title
VJW Mite Selects Bask in NEHL Championship Glory
VJW '97 Elites Punch Ticket to USA Hockey Nationals in April
VJW '99 Selects Celebrate Mass State Select League Championship
VJW '98 Elites Capture New England Hockey League Title
Former VJW Junior A Standout Nets Year-End League Honors
Non Sibi - By Mike Lynch
What Can You Do For Brown? - By Mike Lynch
VJW Squirt Major Selects Make a Difference Both On and Off the Ice
VJW Squirt Major Selects Take Time to Help Others In Need
Valley Jr Warriors Coach Bob Sweeney Joins Beanpot Hall
Tewksbury Tough - By Mike Lynch
VJW Teams Battle For Titles at the 2010 JWK Holiday Tournament
VJW '98 Elites Jonathan Folsom Featured in Local Newspaper
Standing Tall - By Mike Lynch
VJW '98 Selects Capture Boston Jr Terriers Tournament Title
Taking the Pledge in 2010 - By Mike Lynch
Valley Jr Warriors '98 Elites Take On Bell Capital Cup Challenge
Former VJW Standout Chris Kreider & Team USA Are World Champions
Former VJW Star Kreider Named to the 2010 U.S. National Junior Team
VJW '97 Elites Take Their Game to Canada
Holiday Shopping List - By Mike Lynch
Haverhill Valley Forum Enjoys Its Fourth Year of Operation In Style
Eastern Junior Hockey League Featured in Recent USA Hockey Magazine
Walking Tall - By Mike Lynch
Former VJW Players Shine On Collegiate Scene
Call to Glory - By Mike Lynch
14th Annual Warrior Classic Comes to a Close
VJW Teams Battle at Mass State Championship Playdowns
Riki Retelle Earns EJHL Defensive Player of the Week Honors
VJW Teams Set For Mass Hockey Tier I & Tier II State Championship Playdowns
Valley Jr Warriors Junior As Enjoy Weekend Sweep Over CD Selects
Welcome Home - 4 VJW Teams Return After Strong Showing in Chicago
Courage - By Mike Lynch
VJW Teams Poised to Face the Best of the Best
VJW Junior A Team Making Big Strides
VJW U-16 IIs Continue Winning and Championship Ways
The Golden Tornado - By Mike Lynch
VJW '95 Elites - Picking Up Where They Left Off
Steve MacAdams Brings Experience & Success to VJW
USA Hockey Announces H1N1 Recommendations
No Early Season Jitters for the VJW '98 Elites
Great Expectations - From Mike Lynch
VJW Mite Minors Off to a Fast (and Fun!) Start
VJW '99 Selects Make a Difference On and Off the Ice
VJW U-16 Midget Standout Brian Ward Heads to Dartmouth College
VJW Teams Post Impressive 5-1 Record Against Team Comcast
VJW '96 Selects Skate to Victory at Summer Cool-Off Tournament
Tom Terrific - Mike Lynch Reflects on Tom Brady
Valley Jr Warriors '98 Elites Capture WNS Title
VJW - Junior A Season Preview
A Happy New Year From Mike Lynch
VJW's JJ Layton Heads to Little League World Series
VJW Players Shine at 2009 USA Hockey Player Development Camp
Chris Kreider Selected No. 19 in 2009 NHL Entry Draft
VJW Tournaments Make a Return to Haverhill in 2009
VJW Junior A Team Welcomes Two Key Players for 2009-10 Season