VJW Teams Take Home Titles, Impress at Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament
VJW_Thanksgving_logo_copy_150.gifFor the fourth year in a row, the Valley Jr Warriors program welcomed some of North America’s top teams to take part in the Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament. Once again, the home teams not only held them own... they enjoyed tremendous success.

In total, eight VJW teams - ’98 Elites, ’99 Elites, ’99 Selects,
’00 Elites, ’00 Selects, ’01 Elites, ’02 Elites and ’03 Elites - competed this year.

Over the course of a three-day period, those eight teams amassed 30 wins against top programs such as the Calgary Royals, Rocky Mountain Rough Riders, Middlesex Braves, Red Rangers, Connecticut Junior Bobcats, New Jersey Spartans, Mercer Chiefs and  Rhode Island Saints, to name just a few.

In the end, four VJW teams advanced to the finals with two teams finishing second (’02 Elites and ’99 Elites) and two others capturing divisional titles (’00 Elites and the ’03 Elites). 

Claiming one of those titles was the VJW '00 Elites. This latest win continues what has been a solid season thus far for the Warriors , which currently stand in second place (just two points out of the top spot) in the New England Hockey League (NEHL) 00 American Division.

On this weekend, the Warriors were unstoppable. They began their title pursuit on Friday with strong victories over the Northstar Selects 00 (7-2) and the New York Saints 00 (6-1). They assured themselves a playoff spot with a tie and a win on Saturday against the Boch Blazers 00 (5-2) and the Huskies 00 (5-5).

Following a 4-2 semifinal win over the Connecticut Junior Bobcats 00 on Sunday morning, the Warriors finished off the weekend with a 7-4 win over the Braves 00. The championship title was especially sweet for this VJW ’00 Elites squad which finished second at this even just one year ago!

Hours earlier at the Haverhill Valley Forum, another Warrior team was celebrating. The VJW Mite Elites led all 62 participating teams with a 37 plus/minus differential and a 6-0 record. The squad capped off their championship run with a 7-2 win over the MIddlesex Braves. In that showdown, the Warriors broke out to an early 4-0 lead only to see the Braves sneak back into the game by scoring two unanswered goals. The Warriors were not to be denied, however, as they responded with three unanswered tallies in the final stanza to seal the victory.

Without a full-time netminder on hand during the weekend, the Warriors relied on defenseman Camden Tinkham, who made some impressive saves while between the pipes.

"I think it was a great win and I was really nervous,” said Tinkham. “I thought I could help the team win by playing goalie but was afraid of losing."

It was a welcomed stretch of dominating wins for the VJW Mite Elites, who have been battling it out this season in the NEHL’s 02 American Division which is comprised of teams that are all one year older. They earned that spot thanks to dominating play during this year's NEHL Qualifying Jamboree.

“Playing the older teams is a great opportunity for the players, but it was nice to see them have a chance to see how good they are,” said VJW Assistant Coach Vinnie Bomal.

Forward Anthony Cafarelli was excited after the game.

"It was awesome because we were in first place and the only thing we needed to do was pass and score goals to win to get the trophy and that is what we did."

His mother Anita added, "It was nice to see the kids win it all because they truly are working hard. It is so impressive to see how they have already developed as a team in only a few short months.”

Congratulations to all VJW eight teams on a job well done... and be sure to mark your calendars for the 2012 Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament, which will be held on November 23-25, 2012.

VJW ’00 Elites
 VJW ’03 Elites

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