MARLBORO, MA-A goal by Frankie Ireland off of Carson Whitman’s rebound was all it took for the Junior Bruins to knock off the Cape Cod Whalers in the final game of the 2017 Beantown Fall Classic. Ireland's strike, along with Whitman's late empty-net goal, put the cap on an impressive weekend in which the Little Bruins went 7-0.
The Bruins started off the weekend on Friday with a shutout win over the Rhode Island Hitmen and finished off opening day with a 6-2 win over Ulysse Academy.
Saturday brought another convincing win, this time coming over South Florida Hockey Academy, to finish 3-0 in the preliminary round and win their group.
“It’s fun to play some of those teams because we don’t get to see them a lot, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter because it’s about our system and the way we play,” stated Bruins head coach Topher Bevis. “We have an older team, we're confident, and we have a lot of guys who are familiar with our systems and the way we do it, but it comes down to them making plays.
;We always say that the game is about us, it's not about who we're playing, and it's at the point in the season where we're close to two months in. Some of our team's systems and structures are starting to set in."
The playoffs began in much the same fashion: a 6-2 victory over the Jersey Shore Whalers on Saturday night to advance to Sunday’s quarterfinal round. Sunday’s quarterfinal matchup with the Mercer Chiefs ended 4-2 in favor of the Bruins. This was followed by a tense matchup with the New England Fall Prep League All-Star Team, which saw the Bruins edge out a 3-2 win and set up a showdown with the Whalers in the finals.
"That's a team in the finals who we haven't beaten yet. We played them three times in a bunch of close games, and they have a great goalie and a couple of dynamic players, but it's about determination and we've got that," he said. "That's a good team we beat there. We've played four games and every one has been completely different. We were able to get the lead and keep it and that was enough for today."
Chris Masters commented, "It's a real testament to the skill, work ethic and team first attitude the team put forth. That is a big time tournament to win and the manner in which they did it speaks volumes about the kids and coaches. (Coaches) Topher Bevis and Joe Charlebois have done a great job with the team."
The Junior Bruins return to action on Saturday, November 4, when they play the GBL Jr. Bruins while the Cape Cod Whalers finish their regular season on Sunday. Look for another matchup between these two teams in the latter round of the Massachusetts State Tournament over Veterans Day weekend.