In the end, the '00 Selects and the '05 Elites battled on Saturday and Sunday against some of the region's top teams and came home as finalists.
In the 2005 Division, the youngest squad in the VJW organization - the '05 Elites - faced off against the Rhode Island Saints in the semifinals. Entering the playoffs with a 6-1 HNE record, the Warriors found themselves trailing early by two goals and then once again by a score 3-2 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. Despite being down a player, Molly Driscoll broke through the Saints' defense and netted the game-time goal to send the game into overtime.
It didn't take long for The Warriors to complete the dramatic comeback as Jacob Valente collected a face-off win by Cole Blaeser and deposited the game winner seconds into overtime for the 4-3 victory. Jake Vana also scored two goals early on, while Kolton Blaisdell was strong between the pipes. In the final game, the Warriors jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but the
top-ranked Junior Bruins team stormed back and prevailed by a score of
5-3 to capture the championship title. Scoring in that game for the
Warriors were Dante Armata, Jake Vana and Owen McNally.
"We played up a year all season long and I could not be more proud of
this team," said Frank Vana, Jr., who just completed his first season as
coach for the '05 Elites." Even though they are only seven and eight
years old, I was proud to see them rise to the occasion when their backs
were against the wall. I can't even begin to explain how far they have
all come since our first practice last spring."
Later in the day, the '00 Selects took the ice and posted two 4-3
victories on Saturday against the Connecticut Wolfpack and the Junior
Bruins. In the championship game on Sunday afternoon, the Warriors fell
by a score of 4-3 to the Springfield Rifles in an overtime thriller.
It was the end of another strong season for the '00 Selects which won nine of their last 10 games this season!