Two Valley Junior Warriors players are coming off an impressive week as they earned local and national recognition for their outstanding play. Netminder Matt Whitney, who made his Warriors debut this past weekend at the January Eastern Showcase, was honored as the EJHL Rookie of the Week, while defenseman Paul Dimitruk was one of only two EJHL players to be listing in the recently-released NHL’s Central Scouting mid-term rankings.
Following his Warriors debut this past weekend at the January Eastern Showcase held at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Matt Whitney can be called nothing short of a rookie sensation.
The Shrewsbury-native took his place between the pipes for the first time this season and backstopped the Warriors to a solid 1-1-1 performance against some of the league’s top talent. Whitney, who stands at 6-2 and 170 pounds, started all three games for the Warriors and allowed just four goals on 83 shots. He registered 34 saves in a 1-1 tie against the Bay State Breakers before posting an impressive 4-1 victory versus the Boston Bulldogs. In that Friday afternoon contest, Whitney collected 33 saves. In the Warriors 2-4 loss against the New Jersey Hitmen, Whitney stood tall once again by posting 16 saves and allowing only three goals. The fourth goal was an empty netter.
Meanwhile, defensenman Paul Dimitruk continues to see his stock rise as he was one of the notable names featured in the NHL’s Central Scouting mid-term rankings distributed this past week. Dimitruk, a 6-1, 185 pound blueliner from Andover, was ranked 158th overall (sixth round) and was the top-ranked EJHL player listed in the report.
Through 27 games this season, Dimitruk has posted two goals and two assists for the Warriors. He has been an integral part of a strong Warriors’ defensive corps that has allowed only 2.79 goals against per game this season.
Prior to coming to the Warriors organization, Dimitruk played prep school hockey at Andover High School and Brooks Academy. Just last summer, he was drafted in the seventh round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League by the Moncton Wildcats.
Dimitruk’s placement among the country’s brightest stars speaks volumes about his potential. NHL Central Scouting was first established prior to the 1975-76 season in order to provide scouting and player evaluation services for NHL member clubs. The service currently employes nine full-time scouts and six part-time scouts who report on players throughout North America and Europe. The scouts view over 3,000 games world-wide, so it is therefore a true feather in Dimitruk’s cap to be placed among the world’s best.