VJW '97 Elites Cap Off Another Impressive Season With an NEHL Title

97Elites_NEHL_500.jpgOver the past two seasons, the VJW ’97 Elites have put together a tremendous record of play and have established themselves as one of the top teams in the nation. During that time span, the Warriors have posted  116 wins, 18 losses and three ties. Last fall, the team finished the season ranked No. 11 in the nation after capturing the Massachusetts State Championship title and finishing third at USA Hockey Nationals.

The young squad continued where it left off this past season and was simply dominating in New England Hockey League (NEHL) play. They finished with a division-leading 25-4-1 record and are ranked No. 10 in the nation according to www.myhockeyrankings.com.

In the NEHL playoffs, the top-seeded Warriors defeated the Albany River Rats by a score of 4-2 in the semifinals before skating to a 5-2 victory over the Seacoast Spartans in the championship game. It was an especially sweet victory for the Warriors since they fell twice this past season to the Spartans... a team that was ranked in the top 10 nationally for the better part of the season.

Here is a summary of the team’s 2011 playoff run.

’97 American Division Semifinals

VJW ’97 Elites 4, Albany River Rats 2
n what was a back-and-forth affair, the Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Noah Hanifan connected on a slapshot from the top of the circle, and then Jake McKenelley – off an assist from Cam Askew – added his team’s second goal of the contest.

Although the River Rats scored twice in the second period, the Warriors responded by finding the back of the net two more times with tallies coming from Brent Hill (off assists from Garrett Pietz and George Sennott) and Noah Hanifin (assisted by Cam Askew).

A scoreless third period saw the Warriors kill off a series of penalties and hold off the River Rats for the 4-2 win.

’97 American Division Finals

VJW ’97 Elites 5, Seacoast Spartans 2
One the fastest and most physical games of the season, both the Warriors and Spartans fought hard to the very end. Warrior netminder Nick Holt held off a tenacious Spartan offense during the first period to keep the game scoreless heading into the second period.

In the second period, the Warriors struck first when Zach Mirageas collected a pass from Eric MacAdams and beat the Spartan’s goalie high to the glove side with a slapshot from the top circle at the 10:34 mark. Eric MacAdams – off an assist from Noah Hanifin – converted a rebound in front of the net for his team’s second goal of the game.

The Spartans stormed back and tied the score at 2-2 with just four minutes left in regulation, but the Warriors came through once again and erupted for three unanswered goals during the final three minutes to secure the championship title. Scoring for the Warriors during that critical stretch were Casey Fitzgerald (on a great individual effort), Cam Askew (who collected a pass from Eric MacAdams at the blue line and made a great fake to beat the goaltender) and an empty netter by Garrett Pietz, who outskated 2 defenders to the puck for the final goal.

Congratulations to the entire VJW ’97 Elite team on another spectacular season!

  • Cameron Askew 
  • Denis Bouzon  
  • Michael Disciullo  
  • Casey Fitzgerald  
  • David Giunta  
  • Austin Goldstein  
  • Noah Hanifin  
  • Brent Hill  
  • Nicholas Holt  
  • Ryan Lacriox  
  • John Layton  
  • Eric MacAdams  
  • Clifford Markell  
  • Ryan McDonough  
  • Jake McKenelley  
  • Brian McLaughlin  
  • Zachary Mirageas  
  • Garrett Pietz  
  • George Sennott  
  • Kevin Silk 
  • Head Coach Steve MacAdams
  • Assistant Coach Bill Pappas
  • Assistant Coach Glen Seabury
  • Assistant Coach Tom Fitzgerald

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