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VJW '97 Elites Cap Off Superior Season at USA Hockey National Championship

 VJW_97Elites.jpg
 VJW '97 Elites took a much-deserved break following the team's 2-1 shootout win over Team Wisconsin
The Valley Jr Warriors ’97 Elites capped off its 2014 USA Hockey U16 Tier I National Championship experience last week in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The Warriors came one goal shy of advancing to the playoffs after being defeated by the third-ranked team in the country, Colorado, by a score of 2-1. It marks the end of a stellar season which saw the Warrior squad capture its third straight Massachusetts State Championship title.

Despite playing a half season and taking nearly fourth months off to compete for their respective high school teams, the Warriors came back together in March to prepare for the national championships and performed admirably. During its championship run, the VJW '97 Elites played three games against top-ranked teams that were all decided by just one goal.

A highlight from the experience was a 2-1 shootout victory over Team Wisconsin. In front of a full house that included more than 100 major junior league and collegiate scouts, the Warriors defeated Team Wisconsin by a score of 2-1. The outcome for the Warriors – which came against the sixth-ranked team in the country that was also playing in front of a home crowd – came following an exciting shootout where the Warriors dominated by a score of 3-0.

“It was great hockey,” said Head Coach Steve MacAdams. “We played three games. One went to overtime and another ended in a shootout. Every team here is good and the quality is so high.”

In that game against Team Wisconsin, it was Ryan McDonough  - off a feed from Cameron Russo – who evened the game in the second period. The game stayed knotted at 1-1 until the shootout where Bailey Conger, George Sennott and Eric MacAdams came through with scores to secure the 2-1 win.

The victory over Team Wisconsin breathed new life into the Warriors after they were defeated - in extra time – by Wilkes-Barre on Thursday. It was a frustrating loss only because the Warriors held at 3-0 lead midway through the game, but could not hold on.

“We lost our legs in that game,” said MacAdams. “It’s especially hard for our team because we play a reduced schedule and some of these kids who play Prep School hockey have been off the ice for a while. In that game, we just had that lapse which hurt us.”

To MacAdams’ point, many of the teams that advanced to the 2014 USA Hockey U16 Tier I National Championship play full-year schedules that includes 50 to 70 games and extensive national travel. The VJW ’97 Elites compete in a half schedule so that the players can compete on their high school teams during the winter months.

“When we are playing well, we can play with any team in the country,” said MacAdams. “I think that we have showed that this week. Everyone is talented here but you need a little bit of luck here and we were no different.”

Helping the Warriors’ cause on Thursday against Team Wisconsin was a red-hot Elijah Harris who has already made 74 saves through just two games. He was especially strong on Thursday when he made 37 saves through regulation and overtime play and then blanked Team Wisconsin during the shootout.

“He was the number one star for sure,” said MacAdams. “We killed off a bunch of penalties, but he played great. He is just a confident kid in general. Whether he stops everything or lets a few in, he is always event keel and never gets rattled. I told thekids during overtime to just get to the shootout because I knew that we would win with the way Elijah was playing.”

The players followed their coach’s sage advice and victory was indeed the end result. 

The Warriors then faced off against the Colorado Thunderbirds in the last game of pool play. Only two teams from each bracket advanced to playoffs.

The VJW '97 Elites fell behind by a score of 2-0 after the first period. A short-handed tally by David Giunta in the third period drew the Warriors to within one goal, but it would not be enough as the Warriors came up just short.

Proving that the Warriors could compete and beat any team in the nation, the two teams that ended up competing in the final national championship game were Team Wisconsin and Colorado Thunderbirds.

Congratulations to the entire VJW '97 Elites team and coaching staff on a tremendous season!

INDEX
VJW '97 Elite Standout Netminder Elijah Harris Commits to Brown University
2015 Set to be an Unprecedented Year for American-Born & VJW Players
VJW Alum Chris Kreider Emerges as An NHL Game Changer
Valley Jr. Warriors Put Massachusetts Back on the NHL Map - Part I of III
VJW Alum Noah Hanifin Named to U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team
Looking Forward to 2014 VJW Tournaments
Former Warrior Mike Vecchione Helps Union College Win First National Title
Apr 4, 14
VJW '97 Elites Cap Off Superior Season at USA Hockey National Championship
It's Game Time for VJW U16's at the 2014 USA Hockey National Championship
Former Warriors - Fitzgerald, Silk & Vecchione - Highlight Frozen Four
Three VJW Junior A Players Announce Plans for 2014-15 Season
VJW ’97 Elites Prepare for 2014 USA Hockey U16 Tier I National Championship
Three VJW '00 Elites Participate in Prestigous East Coast Young Guns Showcase
VJW Players Highlight 2014 Super 8 Hockey Championship
Valley Jr Warrior Junior A Team Soars Into Second Round of EHL Playoffs
A Parent's Perspective: Reflections On Another Great Season of Warrior Hockey
Valley Jr Warriors Post Perfect Record on NEHL Championship Sunday
Valley Jr Warrior Teams Win Three NEHL Championship Titles
In Memory of Paul Gilmartin, Sr.
VJW Alums Lead USA Under-17 team to Another International Title
Thanks to VJW Alum Alex Carpenter For Representing Team USA at Sochi
Valley Jr Warriors Named Charter Member of E9 Elite Hockey League
So Much to Look Forward to - VJW Tryout Season Begins This Week
VJW Alums Ryan Fitzgerald & Brendan Silk Celebrate 62nd Beanpot Tournament Win
Former NHL Stars Ken Hodge & Scott Lachance Named VJW Bantam Coaches
VJW Junior A Standout Charlie Widmar Commits to St. Olaf College
Did You Know? 10% of the Beanpot Players Are Valley Jr Warrior Alums!
Former Warrior Ryan Heavey Stands Tall for Babson Beavers
Former VJW Player Jake Kulevich Has Found a Home at Colgate
VJW Accepting Applications From Experienced and Qualified Coaches
NY Islander Goaltending Coach & Former Olympian Visits VJW Practice
VJW Teams Head to Rhode Island for JWK Tournament
VJW '00 Selects Enjoy A Night at Frozen Fenway
Former Warriors Lead Team USA to a Gold Medal at the gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challen
Alex Carpenter Named to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team Roster
VJW '03 Elites Advance to Semifinals at the North American Frozen Cup
Two Former Valley Jr Warriors Players Continue Impressive Carpenter Legacy
Mark Your Calendars Today for 2014 VJW Tournaments
VJW '97 Elites - Massachusetts State Champions
VJW '00 Selects Take Time to Give Back During the Holiday Season
VJW '01 Elites Impress and Dominate at 2013-2014 Super01 Series Tournament
Valley Jr Warriors Youth Teams Continue NEHL Player of the Week Streak
Charlie Widmar & Shane Tracy Named EHL Mid-Season All Stars
VJW '00 Elites Make National Statement; Now Ranked 12th In the Nation
Another Major Success For the Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament
VJW Teams Win Three of Six Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament Titles
Former Warrior Chris Kreider Nets First Career NHL Hat Trick
VJW Teams Prepare For Playoffs at Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament
2013 Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament Kicks Off in Haverhill
Four Former Warriors Reunite in NCAA Division I Showdown
Ken Hodge & Ryan St. Jean Backstop VJW '00 Elites to a Great Start
VJW Junior A Squad Scores Four Power-Play Goals in League Win
Cam Askew Takes his VJW Talents to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
From the VJW to the NHL: Chris Kreider and Corey Schneider
Logan Bridgewater Named NEHL Player of the Week
VJW '99 Elites Advance to Mass State Championship Finals
Hunter Wilhoite Named Eastern Hockey League Defensive Player of the Week
Former Warrior Ryan Fitzgerald Named Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week
VJW U16 Tier I Team Capture 3rd State Championship & Are National Bound... Again
VJW Junior A Team Happy to Be Back Home
Four VJW Players Receive NEHL Player of the Week Honors
VJW '00 Elites Capture 2013 East Coast Classic Prep Cup Tournament Title
VJW '97 Elites Dominate and Win 2013 Midget Fall Classic
Jack Toohey Named the New England Hockey League Player of the Week
Fitzgerald, Hanifin & White Suit Up for U.S. National Under-17 Team
VJW Junior A Team Falls to Northern Cyclones in Week 2
Brendan Parent of the VJW '99s Named NEHL Player of the Week
VJW '03 Elites Advance to Finals of 2013 AAA Rochester Invitational
A new season. A new league. A new team. A new opportunity for the VJW Junior A Team
VJW Play Featured in NEHL Weekly Roundups (9/8)
VJW Teams Perform Well During Week 1 of NEHL Qualifying Jamboree
EHL Partners with EDUCATEAthletes for Full Suite of Educational Services
VJW 04 Selects Advance to Finals of Rinks at Exeter Tournament