Defense & Goaltending Key for Junior A Team Heading into 2013
Much attention has been placed on the trio of Bay State stars – Ryan Fitzgerald(North Reading, MA), DevinTringale (Medford, MA) and Brendan Collier(Charlestown, MA) – who have contributed 72 of the team’s point thus far and are three of the team’s top four scorers.
While quick to give them their due praise, Head Coach Andy Heinze makes it clear that they are receiving strong support from the team’s less heralded defense and goaltending duo.
“Our profile players deserve the attention that they have received but our defense is where we are steady and have improved,” said Heinze, whose team stands at 19-10-0 heading into the winter break. “We are not giving up a lot on the back end and that has helped us to be successful.” To Heinze’s point, the Warriors stand
in second place in the Northern Division and are enjoying a four-game
winning streak. It marks the fourth time this season that the team had
put together a winning streak of four games or more.
had our struggles scoring goals at times this season,” said Heinze. “But
we were able to stay in games because of our defense and goaltending.”
After losing EJHL Goaltender of the Year Fabian Sivnert, Heinze looked to the first-year tandem of BrendanLeahy (Reading, MA) and Marcus Born(Kumia, Sweden) to fill the void and he has not been disappointed.
Both netminders have been consistently in the top 10 in the
league in goals-against-average and Leahy led – for most of the early
part of the season – in overall wins. He currently stands seventh
overall with nine wins despite being sidelined since November 29 with a
“For a while we had two goaltenders who were in the top five in
both GAA and save percentage and that is a real testament to how well
the defense has been playing,” said Heinze, who hopes to see Leahy back
in action after the New Year. “Brendan is bigger and covers more of the
net well. He controls his rebounds and is very calm in net and doesn’t
While Leahy has been sidelined, the Swedish-native Born has
shouldered his share of time between the pipes. During his team’s latest
four-game winning streak, Born recorded 120 saves.
“We figured that Marcus was going to be solid because we
received good information from our scouts in Sweden,” said Heinze.
“Marcus is an athletic kid who has really played well and can handle the
puck outside of the crease. He is also good with his angles and squares
Standing in front of the netminding tandem is a defensive group
that is a healthy blend of experienced returners and dynamic newcomers.
Marcus Moles(Lake Placid, NY) and Brett Mason(Rowley, MA) have established themselves as team leaders along the blueline, while Jake Schechter(Naples, FL) has quickly attracted the attention of several Division 1 powerhouses.
“We rely on Marcus and Brett because they know what we like and
what we expect of them,” said Heinze. “Schechter was a huge addition for
us. He came from the USHL but came here because he was more comfortable
with the EJHL’s up-tempo and skill-game setting.”
Perry Holcombe (Cummings, GA) and GusHarmes(Pelham, NY)
have also played a dominating role, especially offensively. The pair
has posted 16 and 13 points, respectively, to lead all Warrior
“Perry Holcombe is good with the puck and does a good job of
controlling our end and buying time and space,” said Heinze. “And Gus
Harmes is a versatile player who is very physical and has a real
Providing even more depth for the Warriors has been the addition of Blake Barnes(Broken Arrow, OK), Andrew McAvoy(Mechanicville, NY) and Kollin Schultz(Williamsville, NY).
is no question that we have been successful because of this group of
players,” said Heinze, whose team stands second in the league in penalty
kill percentage (88%). “The experienced defensemen are leading the way
and the newcomers are improving with each and every game.”
Warriors will next be in action on Wednesday, January 9th when they host
the Boston Bandits at the Haverhill Valley Forum. Spectators are
encouraged to attend and cheer the team on to victory.