“We had a fun season and we came within one game of getting there,” said John Burke, head coach of the VJW ’99 Elite squad. “It was a great run and we are proud of what they accomplished and how hard they worked from start to finish.”
Along the way, the Warriors posted impressive victories. In fact, they
began their state-title run on Friday with a 4-1 victory over EHF
powerhouse Boston Jr. Terriers, which are ranked 25th in the nation
according to www.myhockeyrankings.com.
On Saturday, the Warriors posted a 5-2 win over the Springfield Rifles
which set the stage for a semifinal showdown with the South Shore
Facing off against that 26th-ranked team, the Warriors came to play
and made up for a loss the previous day by posting an exciting 2-1 win
over the Kings to advance to the championship finals.
“We have a great group of kids who have been together for a long
time,” said Burke. “Some of the teams we played this weekend were very
good hockey teams, but our kids came to play.”
Although the Warriors fell in the finals to the Terriers, Burke was impressed with their hard work and
dedication along the way.
“The kids were looking forward to a chance to play in Green Bay,” said
Burke referring to the site of the 2014 USA Hockey National
Championship. “But in the end, we told them that they came together as a
team and should be proud of what they have accomplished this year both
in league play and here in the state championship.”
To Burke’s point, the Warriors are coming off a season in which they posted an 8-3-3 record in a New England Hockey League (NEHL) Division that features a handful of nationally-ranked teams such as the Seacoast Spartans and New Hampshire Avalanche.
The team also – earlier this year – traveled to Proctor Academy (NH)
where they took on some of the region’s top teams such as EHF talent Top
Gun and the Providence Capitals. The Warriors finished with a 2-1
record in that jamboree.
“The whole emphasis of the season has been on high school hockey,”
said Burke. “All but three of our kids will be competing for their high
school teams this season, and we look forward to seeing them excel at
that level and then welcoming them back next year.”
To say that this year has been a continuation of long-term success for
the VJW ’99 Elites would be an understatement. This talented crew has
an enviable resume.
Two years ago, the team won the Massachusetts State Championship title
and competed at the 2012 USA Hockey National Championship in Buffalo
During the 2009-10 season, the Warriors captured an NEHL Championship
title against teams that were a year older. Indeed, the mighty VJW ’99
team won the NEHL ’98 American Division title that year.
“We have added pieces along the way which you
always need to do, but the most important part has been that the
majority of these kids have been together for nearly seven years,” said
Burke. “We have watched them develop, and they have all bought into the
fact that hard work pays off.”
They claimed a second NEHL title last year when they defeated the Seacoast Spartans in the finals of 2013 NEHL Championships.
“This is a good example of kids buying into the program and understanding what the Warriors have to offer,” said Burke.
Hats off to the entire VJW '99 Elite team on a terrific season!
Michael Cooper Ryan
Donnelly Drew Eid Jack Galligan Nolan Heinze Nicholas Keroack Chris Lattini Connor Leach
JThomas Mapstone Michael
Mirageas Scott Murphy Sean O'Connell
Daniel Palen Joseph Rotondi Michael
Sarnachiarro Cam Schmitt