Boston, MA- The Eastern Junior Hockey League began its twentieth season on Friday and the teams flew out of the gate looking to make early statements.
The Portland Jr. Pirates played their EJHL debut in Philadelphia against the Revolution to kick off the season. Haralds Egle scored the team’s first-ever EJHL goal, but the Revs’ Jordan Hanth lit the lamp twice in the second period to put the hosts ahead. Zach White tied the game later in the period, but Ben Hicks scored the game-winner in the final frame.
The Valley Jr. Warriors came into the season with high expectations and proved worthy of the hype with two impressive wins. Valley started the season on Saturday with a 4-2 win over the Boston Bandits with Gus Harms igniting the offense in the first period. Freddy Gerard put the Bandits on the board to set up a 1-1 tie going into the third. Perry Holcombe and Davin Smith put the Warriors back in front. Chris Burkemper pulled the Bandits within one late in the period, but Chris Hamel iced the game with an empty-net goal.
On Sunday, Valley hosted the South Shore Kings and emerged with a 3-2 victory. South Shore’s Brian Miller drew first blood early in the first, but Devin Tringale tied it up going into the second. Nick Pichette scored twice in the second period to give Valley a 3-1 lead, but Kyle LeBrun scored to cut the lead in half. The Kings could not net the equalizer and Valley held on for the win.
Prior to their tilt with Valley, South Shore defeated Bay State 4-1 on Saturday. James Kline put the Breakers on the board in the opening minute, but Anthony Flaherty and Tyler Piacentini gave the Kings a 2-1 lead after one. Gustav Fredrikson made it 3-1 late in the second and Piacentini tallied an empty-net goal in the third.
The Bandits rebounded from their loss on Saturday in their home opener. Chris Burkemper, Paul Fregeau, and Michael Phillips all scored in the second period to give the Bandits a 3-0 lead. Dan Mele ruined Ryan Hubbard’s shutout bid with a tally in the final period.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: All fourteen teams will be on hand for the Junior Bruins Shootout at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, MA. Check EasternJunior.com for the full schedule. On Wednesday, the Boston Bandits host the South Shore Kings at 1:30 PM. All games will be broadcast on FastHockey.com.
-Mike Klein, 19 September 2012