EXETER, NH - The Junior Bruins U18 team stayed hot plowing through as deep a tournament field as there
is winning their second straight tournament. Just two weeks ago it was the College Cup and now the Beantown. It took four playoff games to capture the crown at the Beantown Fall Classic and it brought the teams record to an impressive 26-6-5 and a #5 national ranking.
The team opened
with a 1-1 tie with the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday afternoon. Later that night, at Merrimack College, the B’s stingy defense continued to lead the team as they beat back a tough Compuware team, 2-1. Defensemen Ryan Blais and Mat Harris did the scoring in the 2-1 win and goalie James Broomfield was sharp in net.
Friday the black and gold had a single tilt that doubled as a USEHL league game as well with the Jersey Hitmen. The team got out to a fast start and were led by captain Hamilton Whyte’s two goal game in the 5-3 final.
The 2-0-1 round robin record earned them a #1 seed in their bracket and they drew the Boston Jr. Eagles. Once again the B’s team defense proved to be too much as the Eagles, primarily made up of Belmont Hill players, were shutout 1-0.
Up next in the quarterfinals was the nationally ranked Pittsburgh Pens Elite. With the game tied after regulation the teams headed into a 5 minute 4 on 4 OT session. Nothing was solved in the OT frame so they headed to double OT and 3-3 play. The game could’nt be decided so it was a best of five shootout that still had the game tied and it was sudden death shootout time. Jame Broomfield made the saves and John Picking scored the game winner sending the B’s onto the semi
finals Sunday morning
In the semi’s they drew the Neponset Valley river Rats, regarded as one of the top U18 teams in the country and the #1 seed at the Massachusetts State tournament just a few weeks away. The River Rats, like many of the teams the B’s U18 team has beat this year, are comprised of the elite prep school players from all over New England. The Rats are littered with players who have college commitments and they hold an age advantage on the younger U18 B’s.
Neponset got out to a 1-0 lead as the teams were feeling each other out in the early going. The momentum changed when Zach Malatesta caught a Rats forward coming across the tracks with head down and he thumped him good and from that point on the B’s picked up their play and scored the next two goals to pull off the upset and advance to the finals.
In the finals, Charlie Kelleher finsihed off a picture perfect power play goal that proved to be the game winner against the Junior Bruins (Empire) team. Whyte added an empty netter and McGrath picked up the shutout.
“It is a real tribute to the players that they have played so well, gelled so fast and had the success they have,” coach Chris Masters commented. “When playing so many of these split season prep school all star teams who are favorites to beat us in most cases and that we end up winning many more than we lose shows the value in the development these kids are getting and the talent they have. In many games we are playing teams with a handful of college committed players, most are all older than our guys and have big reputations. It really shows that the hard work the players put in all fall is paying off and they are developing at the rate they are. The winning is nice but it is really a by product of the work the kids put in.”
There is no let up in the B’s schedule as they head to Windy City for the Chicago Fury Invitational and then have the Mass State Tournament the following weekend.