Valley Junior Warriors Respond to Early-Season Challenges
With Halloween just around the corner, the Valley Junior Warrior teams have successfully brushed away the summer cobwebs. The 2007-08 season is well underway and many Warrior squads are enjoying some fine play and positive early-season results. This coming weekend, watch out for a clash of division leaders when the ’97 Elites take on the lead-leading Glades ‘97s in a key New England League battle at the Haverhill Valley Forum. Read on for highlights from all Valley Junior Warriors teams from the Mite Selects to the U 18s.
Mark Lester’s ’99 team is enjoying a 5-1-0 record and first place in the State Select League. Offensive dominance has been the key as the squad has outscored its opponents by a 36-13 margin through six games. Cameron Schmitt has been unstoppable as he has posted a remarkable 12 goals and one assist to lead the team. He has registered multiple points in five of the team’s six games. Eric Lester has also stepped up this season with seven points, including the team’s third goal in a recent 4-3 loss to the Middlesex Braves.
The Mite Elites are off a 3-3-1 start in New England Hockey League action. The Steve Leach-led squad is coming off a tough 1-2 loss against Nashua last Sunday. One day earlier, however, the team posted a key 6-2 victory over the ’98 Monarchs. In addition to the Monarchs victory, the Mite Elites have scored wins over Mill City (2) and a tie against Nashua. All in all, it’s a strong start for a team that is challenging itself this season by playing up a division.
The Squirt Minors are on a two-game win streak following victories over the RI Saints and the NS Wings. The team currently stands at 4-1-0 overall and in a tie for third place in the State Select League, trailing only the NV River Rats and the DS Huskies.
Just when the ’98 Elites were making headway in the New England Hockey League, they ran into a roadblock in the form of the two best teams in the division. Following two straight losses to start the season, Richard Maloney’s squad went on a five-game streak where it won three and tied two games. During that stretch, the ’98 Elites outscored its opponents by a 27-10 margin. This past weekend, however, the ’98 Elites battled but fell just short of knocking off the Squirt Central leading Nashua ‘97s by a score of 2-4 and then the Vipers ‘98s, the current leaders in the Squirt West division, 7-1. Much like the ’98 Selects, Maloney’s squad is putting itself up against the best by playing an older corps of teams.
The ’97 Selects hold a 3-3-0 record in State Select League play. The team has posted early-season victories against the NV River Rats, NS Wings and most recently the DS Huskies by a score of 4-1. Mike Grinnell’s squad currently stands in a tie for fourth place in the State Select League Squirt Major Division, trailing only the S Dynamos, AY NorthStars and D5 Mariners. Next up for the ’97 Selects are games against the NS Wings and the Middlesex Braves.
Mark Lissner’s team has already posted five victories in just the first month of action in New England League play. Despite the solid play, the ’97 Elites find themselves in a divisional battle where three teams – ’97 Elites, Albany Storm ‘97s and Falcons ‘97s – are trailing the red-hot Glades ‘97s… a team that boasts a 13-2-0 record. The ’97 Elites will take their 5-3-0 record into a weekend clash with the lead-leading Glades this weekend at the Haverhill Valley Forum.
Standing in fourth place in the PeeWee Minor Division, the ’96 Selects have skated to a 3-4-4 record in State Select League play. Momentum is on the side of Bob Wesley’s team, however, as they have dropped only one game since the start of the month. The team is coming off a 3-3 tie with the AY NorthStars and a 5-4 victory against the Middlesex Braves.
No one can say that offense has been a problem for Bob Sweeney’s young squad. The ’96 Elites have scored 33 goals through six New England League games! The team currently holds a 5-1 record and stands in fourth place in the PeeWee Central Division. The team’s only loss came against the Vipers ’95. Since that victory over the Warriors, the Vipers have been unstoppable as they have posted three straight victories.
The ’95 Selects are still looking for its first win this season. The team started the year by dropping a tough 2-3 contest against the Seacoast ‘95s. They followed that up with a 1-1 tie with the Portland ‘95s. Mark Foster’s team will look for its first victoryof the season this weekend with a two-game series against the Glades ‘95s.
Soaring is a word that can be used to describe the ’95 Elites. With a 9-1-1 division leading record in State Select League play, Bill Franzese’s team is doing just about everything right. The ’95 Elites have outscored its opponents by a 58-20 margin and has not dropped a game since September 29. After a 4-0 blanking of the AY NorthStars on October 19, the ’95 Elites put on an offensive clinic with a 10-1 drubbing of the Middlesex Braves. The team will look to continue its positive momentum at next month’s Nike Bauer International Invitational in Chicago.
Standing in fourth place in the Bantam Minor Division, the ’94 Selects are clearly holding their own in State Select League play. The team started off its season with two straight league victories – against the RI Saints and the NS Wings. Since that time, Bill Maag’s team has dropped games to the 495 Stars and most recently to the NV River Rats.
Another Warriors team that is tops in its division is the ’94 Elites with a dominating 6-2-0 record in Bantam Central Division of the New England Hockey League. After posting a 3-0 loss against an older Vipers ‘93s team on October 13, the ’94 Elites have gone on to register impressive shutout victories over the Falcons ‘94s (3-0) and most recently against the Monarchs ‘94s (11-0).
’93 Selects & ’93 Elites
The two Warriors teams find themselves neck-and-neck in the Bantam East Division of the New England Hockey League. The ’93 Selects have skated to a 5-5-0 record, while the ’93 Elites are right on their heels with a 4-3-0 league record. Both squads will be taking their games to next month’s Nike Bauer International Invitational in Chicago.
With one game remaining in the shortened season, the U 16s will look to improve upon its 2-7-1 record. Season highlights include victories against the 495 Stars and the NS Wings. The team will finish off its season – just in time for the players to suit up for their high school teams – with a game against the DS Huskies on October 27.
Earlier this season, Ken Cleary's Midget Minor team kicked off its season in fine fashion with a second place finish at the annual Massachusetts Tier 1 Labor Day Face-Off Tournament. Now, with three games left in the shortened season, the U 18s hold a 4-3-0 record in State Select League play. The team will cap off its season with games against the DS Huskies, CC Whalers and 495 Stars.