BRUINS GET READY FOR SECOND HALF
Team Looks to Defend Regular Season and Playoff Titles
FRAMINGHAM, MA-The Junior Bruins (Empire) are back on the ice this week after a nice Christmas break preparing for their second half opener with the Salem Ice Dogs on Sunday night. They then play the top team in the league, the Pittsburgh Jr. Pens on Saturday at the Bandits showcase.
The Bruins, three time defending regular season champs and two time defending playoff champs, sit in first place in the Atlantic Division, second place in the Conference and fourth place in the league as they get geared up for a run at making it four straight league crowns.
This is familiar territory for the Bruins, to a degree. The B’s have never led wire to wire and have always stumbled early in the season so the vets on this team know what to do in order to get back atop of the standings. This year will be more difficult as there are three teams to climb over and another team nipping at the B’s heels.
There have been a lot of positives to look to from the beginning of the season from an individual and team perspective. The Bruins are winning with defense as evidence by their miniscule goals against average of 1.76 which is good for second best in the league (just .05 GAA behind Pittsburgh). The Bruins goalie tandem of Petie von Rosenvinge and Tyler Holske have back boned the defense and they are both among league leaders in most categories.
von Rosenvinge is leading the league in GAA (1.63), fifth in save percentage (.927), second in shutouts (3) and fifth in wins (11). Most impressive are von Rosenvinge’s wins at Hooksett against the Monarchs (1-0 shutout), at Boston College against the Monarchs (4-3), a 40 save performance on the road at the Breakers (2-1 win) and a 4-3 win against the Huskies. Holske, after a slow start, has played well the last 6 weeks and improved his GAA to 2.13 and picked up nice wins against Valley, the Falcons and a shutout at the Ice Dogs. von Rosenvinge was recently named to the Empire League’s All Star game for the National Conference.
The Bruins defense, by far the youngest in the league, has gotten better by the leaps and bounds over the first three months. They struggled early in the year, which was to be expected, but have slowly gotten better individually and as a unit. Steve Ginand and Ross McMullan were named to the Empire League’s All Star game for the National Conference, and, along with Wes Russell, have provided some much needed size and maturity to the blue line as the elder statesmen on the team. Zach Todd, Derek Stahl, Kyle Webb and Kevin McKernan round out the group that has flourished late in games and been able to shut down teams in the third.
“It is not easy to play against bigger, stronger players game in and game out, but our young defensemen are learning how to do it and getting better day by day and our older guys have been rocks for us defensively as the new guys get brought up to speed on how they are needed to play,” coach Chris Masters commented.
Up front the team, without a top five scorer in the league for the first time, have gotten contributions from all four lines and all 13 forwards on the team. It has been a balanced attack that has been led by different players at different times. Frankie Vatrano with 29 points in league play lead the team but is followed closely by Cody Learned (26 points), Logan Romano (26 points) and Zach Sandonato (24). Learned, Romano and Sandonato were recently named to play in the Empire League All Star game on January 19th in Hooksett, NH.
“It changes from game to game,” Masters said regarding the team’s offensive production. “One day it is (Daniel) Szerlip, (Sean) McLaughlin and Rockey (Sweeney) and the next it is (Tyler) Bouchard, (Zach) Luczyk or (Brian) Morgan and (Colin) Britnell. We lost some punch to our line-up when we lost Matt Manzella for a couple of weeks (injury) and when Paul Russell left the team but the team somehow has figured out a way to get things done.”
“They are a resilient group that gets better day by day and that is evidenced by their run in the league since mid October. To be where we are in the standings at this point is a bigger accomplishment than where we have been in prior years at the same time. We have not lost a league game since October 18 and that was at the tail end of a stretch where we gave up goals late in games and were playing sloppy in our own end (resulting in some tough losses and ties). I give the players, our leaders and captains in particular, a lot of credit for making a commitment to change that. We are 5-0 in one goal games since then and that is a direct result of a commitment to playing better in our own end and the players’ attention to detail and doing all the little things you need to do to win games. It is a real positive sign for us heading into the second half.”
That commitment to playing better defensively has led to a lot of additional time spent in the offensive zone and more production. The team cut down on failed break out attempts and got back to spending long stretches in the other team’s end and generating more offense.
The Bruins will also have eight players participating in the Empire League Future’s game during the EJHL/Empire All Star game festivities. Morgan, Vatrano, Manzella, Votolato, McKernan, Todd, Stahl and Webb will all be representing the National Conference.
The Bruins have a tough hill to climb to make it back to the top of the standings, a deep run in the playoffs and a trip back to nationals. The journey begins this Monday night.
SHEA TO BE A MINUTEMAN
B’s Defensemen Commits to U-Mass
FRAMINGHAM, MA-The Junior Bruins are proud to announce that ’91 defensemen Colin Shea has accepted a scholarship to U-Mass Amherst and will be playing for coach Toot Cahoon. Shea will enter U-Mass Amherst in 2009 or 2010.
Shea, a long time Junior Bruin, first started with the program on the 1991 Junior Bruins AAA tournament team. In 2006-2007 season he played the first of two years with the Junior Bruins (Empire) team and he is now in his first campaign with the Junior Bruins (EJHL).
Shea, whose brother Edwin is a freshmen defensemen at Boston College, has a long history with the Bruins program. He first started with the 1991 AAA tournament team in 2002 where he played with future Junior Bruins teammates John Henrion and Cody Learned. After five seasons with the AAA team and the 05-06 campaign practicing with the Junior Bruins (Empire) he came on full time for the 2006-2007 season.
Shea, in 59 games that season, had a 12 point season and was a +42. That plus/minus was good for third best amongst defensemen. The team had a great season winning the Empire Jr. Hockey League Regular Season title with a 35-3-1 record. The team then went on to win the Empire Jr. Hockey League Playoff Championship when they beat the NH Jr. Monarchs 4-2, in Troy, NY.
In his second full season with the B’s a year ago, Shea had a breakout season. In 70 games played he put up great offensive numbers to go along with the teams top +/- for defenseman. He scored 10 goals to go along with 36 assists for a 46 point season. His +47 was not only best for defensemen but third best overall on the team. In addition to that individual success came continued team success. The team won both the regular season nd playoff titles again. In the league title game the B’s beat the Monarchs again, 3-2.
In his two seasons with the Junior Bruins (Empire) Shea went a combined 118-18-5, made two trips to USA Hockey Nationals, won the Beantown Fall Classic, two regular season titles and two playoff championships.
“When Colin first joined our team full time I was not sure what type of player he would turn into,” coach Chris Masters commented. “He was a good player but I couldn’t gauge how good he wouldbecome. His development and improvement never stopped and it seemed every month, at our coaches meetings, I would say the same thing-’Shea continues to get better’. He really turned a corner during the second half of his second season with us and turned into an impact level defensemen.”
Over the course of the summer of 2008 he continued to make heads turn at various summer showcase events that helped elevate his status and schools started the recruiting process and making offers.
This season, his first with the Junior Bruins (EJHL), he has helped the team to a 16-3-3 record as the team sits in first place in the Northern Division.
“Colin’s story is one of perseverance, hard work and a great attitude. He worked for everything he has gotten and if you were to look at where he was just two years ago and where he is now and what kind of player he has become, it is remarkable. He spent a lot of time working on his skating, shooting pucks in the basement and putting in long hours to become the player he wanted to be. To now see him reach one of his life long goals of a college scholarship is great to see,” coach Peter Masters remarked.
Congratulation to Colin and his family.
LITTLE BRUINS TOP JUNIOR BRUINS
2008 Civil War goes to Little B’s
MARLBORO, MA-The Little Bruins broke a three year winless drought against their full season brethren on Saturday beating the Junior Bruins (Empire) by a 4-2 score. Wayne Simpson’s empty netter put the final nail in the coffin late in the second half.
John Carbonneau got the scoring started for the Little Bruins when he scored a short handed goal in the first half. Frankie Vatrano scored on a nice snap shot to tie the game up. The lead was stretched to 2-0 when Andrew Cerretani scored in the second half. With the Little B’s up 3-1 (Billy Arnold scored to get the lead back to two) the B’s pulled the goalie and scored with thirty seconds to go when Daniel Szerlip knocked in a rebound.
The comeback fell short when Simpson scored the empty netter and gave the Bruins the win. This now runs the Little B’s record to 24-3-3 and they finish their season next weekend at the Valley tournament.
The Little B’s have been hit by the injury bug of late. Goalie Geno Lane is out for the rest of the fall with Mono, as is defensemen Al Butler…defensemen Thomas Larkin is also out for the rest of the fall recovering from a minor concussion he suffered in the semi finals of the Beantown Fall Classic…defensemen Thomas Kadder has been out virtually all of the fall recovering from a groin injury…
2008 Civil War
Little Bruins-4 vs. Junior Bruins-2
B’s COACH MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF
Tatar Recieving Awards
FRAMINGHAM, MA-The Junior Bruins added Dan Tatar to the staff midway through the 2007-2008 season and knew they were getting a good hockey guy but had no idea they were getting a rising star in the business and charitible foundation worlds.
Tatar, a graduate of Union College where he played goal for the Skating Dutchmen, was named Citizen of the Year in Glens Falls, New York. He is the youngest receipient of this award in its near 100 year history. The Rotary Club also awarded him as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Events put on by the organization he founded have had over 100 media appearances over the past two years that included an appearance on Good Morning America and a feature in the New York Times.
He was named to the Top 20 Under 40 recently and here is a link to the article:
Tatar, in addition to coaching with the B’s, has a marketing and promotionalal company called ADK.
To contact Dan: DAN TATAR
B’s Take Down GBL, 5-3
MARLBORO, MA-The Little Bruins found themselves in a familiar spot on Monday afternoon. That is in the finals of the Labor Day Face-off. The B’s capped off a great start to their season beating two of the pre-tournament favorites in the semi’s and finals on Monday. After taking care of the Neponset Valley River Rats in the semi finals it was the GBL Jr. Bruins who were bested by the Little Bruins.
The Bruins power play had it going and scored two power play markers to get their scoring started. Wayne Simpson and Jeff Ryan with assists to Joe Pendenza, Billy Arnold and Andrew Cerretani respectively.
The Bruins got a big goal from Gunnar Hughes late in the second period when he jammed home a rebound off an initial Ryan shot.
The game winner came off the stick of Conor Sheary who cut across the slot from the right wing side and, using a GBL’er as a screen, ripped a shot top shelf to make it a 4-3 game late in the third. The game was put out of reach when Andrew Doane tipped a shot from the left point with minutes to go.
The Little B’s defense and goalie Geno Lane, who made 14 saves in the win, held the fort the rest of the way.
“Obviously this is a great start to the season and we are proud of the players for their effort and execution this weekend,” coach Chris Masters commented. “The players deserve a lot of credit for how they played starting Saturday night. We knew we could not afford to lose another game and they peeled off four straight wins after a good tie on Saturday night.”
“To play four strong teams (Hornets, Breakers, Rats and GBL) and win every one of them when you have to win them shows a lot of mental toughness and heart.”
The Little Bruins now turn their sites to the Woodchuck Showcase in Burlington, VT.
REF’S TAKE DOWN TITLE
Golf Outing a Success; Pendenza Family Wins Grand Prize Raffle
FRAMINGHAM, MA-The Junior Bruins 5th Annual Golf Outing was held on Monday (Aug 25) and, in addition to the rain holding off and emcee Andy Powers bringing down the house, the referee’s team of Gene Binda, Gene Binda Jr, Jay Durfee and Gerry O’Neill put up a 61 to take top prize honors. The grand prize raffle winner was the Pendenza family, who won a $1000 off their Junior Bruins tuition.
With a forecast calling for a 30% chance of s shower passing through there was a nervous start to the day but Mother Nature co-operated and not a drop of rain fall all day at the Hopkinton Country Club. Golf was played at a lightning pace of just over four hours and then all participants and volunteers headed into the Ball Room for a cocktail hour, dinner and award ceremony emceed by coach Powers. There were over 150 raffle and auction items and the day culminated with the grad prize raffle drawing.
“We want to thank everyone who had a hand in making the day a success,” Chris Masters commented. “The support and generosity of the dozens of people who donated raffle and auction items, volunteers, sponsors and everyone who participated deserve thanks. We could not have pulled it off without them.”
Gene Binda, Gene Binda Jr., Jay Durfee, Gerry O’Neill
Bruce von Rosenvinge, Chris Welles, Zach Unguarsky, Jordan Unguarsky
Kevin Caulfield, Tim Kelleher, Brendan Buckley, Chris Hickey, Robert Hickey
Closest to the Pin-Hole #16
Tim Kelleher (4’4”)
Longest Drive-Hole #4
Grand Prize Raffle Winner
USA HOCKEY SELCET 15 FESTIVAL
Strong Showing for B’s in St. Cloud
FRAMINGHAM, MA-The USA Hockey Select 15 Festival finished up this past Friday and there was not only a large number of players with Junior Bruins ties but they also put forth good performances. There were 20 players and one coach that have played/will play for the black and gold on either the Junior Bruins-Empire, Little Bruins or the 1993 Junior Bruins AAA tournament team. The camp took place on the campus of St. Cloud State at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Several of the players listed below were among their team and Festival’s leading scorers as well as garnering a lot of attention from the coaches and scouts in the arena. Coach Chris Masters helped guide the Gold TEam to the first place finish at theFestival. Their 4-1 record was tops among all teams and included a 13 person shootout in the final game that clinched top team status. In that shootout it was Massachusetts native Ryan Hubbard who stopped 11 of 13 shooters. In was Defensemen Brandon Tendeland (West Fargo, North Dakota) who got the sudden death shootout game winner.
The list of those who participated with Bruins ties are: Brendan Burke (AAA), Richie Prunesti (AAA), Matt Mahalak (AAA), Griffin Votolato (AAA), Jimmy Vesey (AAA), Kurt Krotz (AAA), Alex Gacek (Little Bruins and AAA-pictured right), Dylan Pike (AAA), JP Burnside (AAA), Ronald Fishman (AAA), Devin Albert (AAA), Vince Trochek (AAA), Anthony Terenzio (AAA), Stephen Brown (AAA), Derek Stahl (Junior Bruins-Empire and AAA), Ross Scherma (Little Bruins and AAA), Stephen Miller (Junior Bruins-Empire and AAA), Anthony Greco (AAA), Joey Yeadon (Little Bruins and AAA-pictured above left), Gord Donnelly (AAA) and Chris Masters (coach).
BRUINS CROWNED CHAMPS
Take Down Hitmen at Monarchs Tournament
FRAMINGHAM, MA-The Junior Bruins beat the Jersey Hitmen on Sunday afternoon to win the NH Jr. Monarchs tournament. The B’s went undefeated winning all four games they played. The championship game was a 6-2 win.
Defensemen Patch Alber and Colin Shea, forwards Wayne Simpson, Collin Bretton, Mike Borge, Jeff Ryan and goalie TJ Massie all had strong weekends.
ARNOLD TO BE AN EAGLE
Long Time Bruin Commits to Boston College
FRAMINGHAM, MA-Little Bruins and ’92 AAA tournament team player Billy Arnold let coach Jerry York and the rest of the staff at Boston College know that he will be bringing his talents to the Heights.
Arnold played on the inaugural ’92 AAA tournament team for the Bruins back in 2002 and has been with the team ever since. Two years ago he spent time with the Junior Bruins (Empire) and Little Bruins, and last year was a key contributor on the Little B’s.
In his first season with the Bruins (2002) he helped lead the ’92′s to a 11-4-1 record after advancing to the semi finals at the Repentigny and Mission Cup tournaments and then winning the SKater’s Edge tournament in Marlboro. He led all players in scoring that season with 25 points in those 16 games. Over the next six years Arnold would continue to be a top player on the ’92 Bruins and helped the team to a 52-18-5 record.
In the 2006-2007 season he would join the program on a more permanent basis as a member of the Little Bruins, the organizations split season midget team, as an 8th grader. Last season he quickly became one of the teams top players and was second on the team in scoring despite being one of the younger players on the team.
A consummate team player who does all the little things, he has a big league shot and release, a scorer’s touch and is near impossible to move off the puck. Perhaps his greatest asset is his creativity and smarts with the puck. He knows where teammates are at all times and finds the open player, even when they appear to be covered.
“Any time a player in our program realizes one of their dreams it is a thrill for us, especially when it is someone who has been with us for as long as Bill has,” Chris Masters commented. “It is nice to see a player as dedicated and who has worked as hard as Bill, rewarded for those efforts. We think he will be a big time player for BC and it is no surprise to us that he is going to end up there.”
Congrats to Bill and his family.
’98 BRUINS TAKE DOWN LAS VEGAS
OT Semi final Win Propels Team to Title
LAS VEGAS, NV-The ’98 Bruins, after a quadruple over time game in the semi’s earlier in the day, beat Can West in the finals, 10-5, to win the North American AAA Champions Cup. In the semi finals, against the Vancouver Selects, Dennis Cesana scored to end the quadruple over time game. In the finals the Bruins got out to a big lead and never looked back.
The Bruins had a great week in Vegas at, and away from, the rink. The ’99 Bruins went 3-1 in round robin play but lost in the semi finals. Same for the ’97 Bruins who also went 3-1 but lost in the semi’s. The ’96 Bruins went 2-2 in round robin play and were the #2 seed at their level and played in a consolation game on Friday. The ’95 Bruins had a tough week going 1-3.
“The feedback from players and families has been great,” coach Chris Masters commented. “We have already received calls and email from families letting us know this was the most fun they have ever had at a tournament. The competition was stronger than we expected and there were some really good teams who we have never seen before and there are endless things to do away from the rink. We got to meet a ton of new families since about 70% of the players with us were new to our program. We are already looking forward to going back.”