By Mike Shalin March 16, 2005
The Bantam Minors overcame serious adversity but beat the Central Mass Outlaws, 1-0, Sunday to capture the State Select championship in Marlboro.
Nicholas Leva?s blistering slapshot from the blueline delivered the title after the Warriors overcame a preliminary round loss to the same team and having five goals taken away by the officials in the two games against the Outlaws. Despite having to beat some serious odds, VJW Coach Ken Cleary said, ?Our team came to play on every shift and brought home the well-deserved state championship.?
The Warriors, the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, beat the Wings, Friday night, and the South Shore Dynamos, Saturday morning, setting up the trip to the finals.
Friday night, the Warriors beat the. Wings, 7-3. Josh Salah netted a first-period goal, with an assist from Justin Dirienzo. Chris Kreider, Nicholas Leva, and defenseman Cameron Christie scored second-period goals, with assists passed out to Kreider and Nicholas Galanos. In the third period, Jake Donahue, Ben Wiggins, and Galanos potted one apiece, with assists to Galanos, Donahue, and Robbie Cleary.
Saturday morning, Salah scored a pair of second-period goals, while Leva, Galanos, and Donahue scored one apiece in the third period to oust the Dynamos, 5-2. Dirienzo recorded two assists, with Ryan Heavey, Cam Fitzpatrick, and Kreider getting one apiece.
Later that day, the Warriors lost to the top-seeded Outlaws, 4-2. However, with two solid earlier wins, the Warriors assured themselves a spot in Sunday's championship game.
Goaltenders Kyle Harring and Tony Botte were rock-solid in net. ?Kyle Harring was in net for his second week in a row in a championship game,? said Cleary. ?The weekend earlier, Harring beat the Seacoast Spartans, 1-0, to capture the New England Hockey League Championship. He repeated with another focused and steady performance as he was in net for another shutout in the Mass Select state championship.?
Continued Cleary: ?I can?t tell you how proud I am of these kids. They have played so well together all year and to win both championships this way is just icing on the cake for us. This has been a great year.?