MARLBORO, MA-It was another banner weekend for the Junior Bruins AAA tournament team program as three teams too
k home championships, another was a finalist and the teams combined for a remarkable 29-5-1 record.
In Buffalo, at the NAPS tournament, the 1997 B’s had another deep run into the playoff round making it to the semi finals. Through their first two tournaments the 1997 B’s amassed an 11-2 record and, in addition to their semi final appearance at NAPS, added another Prospects title earlier in the season.
The 1999′s went on a magical run throughout the tournament and, especially, in the playoff round. The team ran the table beating all comers going 7-0 en route to the NAPS tournament title and that included two OT wins, one in the semi’s and again in the finals. In the semi finals it was Quinn Hughes who provided the OT winner. In the championship game, against the Montreal Vipers, it was a goal from Marc McLaughlin that sent the team piling onto the ice in celebration. The black and gold took down the Northeast Cyclones (twice, once in round robin play and again in the playoffs), Southern US Regional Selects, Mid Atlantic Regional Selects, Pro Hockey Development (Hofford), Montreal Jr. Canadiens and the aforementioned Vipers.
The 2000′s, racked by injuries in the days leading up to the Icebreaker tournament, put together a gritty performance running the table and going 6-0 en route to the crown. In the finals the B’s got a shut out from goalie Joe Stanizzi and a stifling defensive effort from the whole team keep the NH Knights off the board in the 3-0 win. With a short bench (just two lines all weekend) and zero margin for error as the division had 20 teams participating ahd only four teams advancing to the medal round the B’s employed strong team defense and timely scoring to beat a deep field of teams.
The 2001 Junior Bruins “Brick” team, coming off two good weeks pf practice, put together a dominating weekend that culminated with a thrilling OT win in the championship game against the New England Storm, 5-4. In the round robin the B’s gave up only one goal in the four game and entered the playoffs as the top seed. Their strong defensive play continued in the semi finals with the fourth shutout of the weekend beating a the Quebec based Gladiateurs. In the finals, a rematch of the Flames Spring Classic championship game, the team faced a strong opponent in the Storm. The Storm, a combination of 4-5 of the top CT. Yankees Brick team players and a very talented group of Boston based players, were a perfect tuneup to the level of team the B’s will see in Edmonton at the Brick.
The 2002′s, losing a tie breaker that came down to who had fewer penalty minutes, fell four penalty minutes short of advancing to the playoff round. The team went 2-1-1 losing to the eventual champions in a great game that saw the Nordiques Jr. goalie absolutely steal the game as the B’s out shot them by a 3-1 margin. The loss, a 2-1 score,
saw a ‘Diques goal originally called a non goal, later reversed as well as a penalty shot that the Quebec goalie stopped. The B’s also lost a 3-2 lead in the final minutes to the Montreal Vipers when they took two penalties (minutes that cost them dearly in the tiebreaker) and gave up a power play goal. The B’s, as they did in Montreal, had a killer round robin schedule, playing 3 of the 4 teams that advanced to the p;layoff round. In the teams four tournaments this year the ’02′s compiled a 12-5-1 record and played the iron in every tournament they played in. Next season the ’02′s will be headed to Edmonton for the Brick tournament and the Junior Bruins staff will be out in earnest in the fall looking at all the prospective players they hope will be at tryouts in December/January.
The ’03′s finished off their inaugural season advancing to the title game for the 3rd time in the four tournaments they entered and finished with an 18-5 record. They opened the weekend with a loss to the eventual champion Team Quebec, a combination of two of the top Montreal based summer teams, in a great game. They then won four straight, including a tough fought 4-2 win over the Cascades (who also made the playoff round) and a semi final win over their rivals to the south in the CT. Yankees. In the finals Team Quebec got the best of them again. It was a great opening season for the ’03′s who have a bright future.