VJW Junior A Squad Scores Four Power-Play Goals in League Win
 Shane Tracy scored one of the four VJW power-play goals this past weekend
For the past few weeks, Head Coach Andy Heinze and his coaching staff have been working with the VJW Junior A players on the power play. The fruits of their labor were in full display this past weekend.

In a memorable performance, the Warriors were an eye-popping 4-out-of-6 on its power play and skated to a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Rockets.

“We have been working on the power play as a team in practice and we were happy with the results,” said Heinze, whose team made the five-hour bus trip to New Jersey this past weekend. “They moved the puck around and created good opportunities and capitalized on them as well.”

The game – contested at Middletown Ice World – continues what has been a strong stretch of play for the Warriors which have won three out of its last four league games. During that stretch of play, the Warriors have – most notably – defeated some of the top teams in two Eastern Hockey League (EHL) divisions.

First it was a 3-2 win over the EHL North’s New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and now the Titans which are third in the EHL South Division. The Warriors also pushed the Connecticut Oilers – the top team in the EHL Central Division – to overtime on November 9.

“The results have been good lately,” said Heinze. “We have been dealing with some injuries over the past few weeks, but the guys have stepped up and have done a good job.”

Helping the cause this week was a recent addition to the roster. Swedish standout Emil Blomqvist joined the Warriors and made an immediate impact. Playing alongside team-leading scorer Christian Elsborg (7 goals, 8 assists) and Van Sullivan, the towering Blomqvist (he stands at 6-5 and weighs 210 pounds) scored one goal and added an assist.

“He came to us from the North American Hockey League and has good size,” said Heinze. “He skates well and really made a difference even on the power play which was great to see.”

Heinze was especially pleased with how his team responded to an early 2-0 deficit. The Rockets scored two goals in a 30-second span during the first period but the Warriors bounced back quickly, often… and on the power play.

Elliott Polanchyck struck first – at the 16:30 mark of the first period with assists going to Sullivan and Elsborg. With just over a minute left in the period, Elsborg notched is team-leading seventh goal of the season with an extra-man advantage.

Shane Tracy
made it three in a row for the Warriors. He was the lone scorer in the second period. He scored on the power play off helpers from Cole Karklins and Hunter Wilhoite.

“Both power play units kept the puck moving,” noted Heinze. “Shane’s goal was a redirection off a shot from the point. That is something that we have been focusing on, so it was great to see them score that way.”

Nikola Lazaric secured the victory with another power play tally… this one was also scored with an empty net. The result no doubt made the trip back home much easier for the Warrior crew.

“It was a long trip, but we were happy to walk away with a good result,” said Heinze. “We have been trying to gear up for the two- and three-game weekends we have coming up.”

To Heinze’s point, the VJW Junior A team will head back on the road next weekend and play three games in three days. They first face off against the New Jersey Rockets on Friday and then follow that up with back-to-back games – on Saturday and then Sunday – against the Philadelphia Junior Flyers.

“This coming weekend will be a good test,” said Heinze. “It will be busy, but we are looking forward to the challenge and hoping that they bring their “A” game.”

The team will then enjoy a few days off to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday before embarking on another tough league stretch.

“Anytime you are dealing with new players it takes time to get them used to the system,” said Heinze. “We want the best for the kids and to do that you just keep telling them the right thing and then it’s up to them to implement it. We have been working on a lot of things and trying to get them to play as a group and they are responding.”

Warrior fans should also mark their calendars for Thursday, December 5th when the VJW Junior A team finally returns home for a home contest against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs. All kids who show up wearing their Warrior jerseys receive complimentary admission.

See you at the rink!
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