Boston, MA- The Eastern Junior Hockey League has not yet reached the conclusion of the first full month of the season, but tight battles are already developing at the top.
In the South, the Jersey Hitmen opened a gap with the second-place Bay State Breakers and South Shore Kings with an impressive six-point week. The Hitmen hit the ground running on Wednesday with a win over Apple Core and then proceeded to sweep the Rochester Stars on Saturday and Sunday.
Prior to the series in New Jersey, the Stars dispatched the Philadelphia Revolution on Friday 4-2.
Over in the North, the Junior Bruins sit tied with the Valley Jr. Warriors at the top. The Warriors started the week in fine fashion, beating the Islanders Hockey Club 6-3 on Thursday. Valley fell to the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs 4-2 on Saturday in Manchester but rebounded for a 4-3 win the next day in Haverhill.
The Junior Bruins kept pace with a win over the Boston Bandits on Wednesday and a two-game sweep of the Portland Jr. Pirates on Saturday and Sunday.
The Bay State Breakers brought themselves into a tie for second place with three wins last week. Thursday saw a 4-2 victory over the South Shore Kings at home. Bay State then hit the road and defeated the Bandits 5-2 in Bridgewater and the Islanders 3-1 in Tyngsboro.
South Shore kept pace with the Breakers with a win over the Bandits on Sunday, and the Kings and Breakers sit tied for second in the division.
Apple Core hosted the Springfield Pics for a weekend series, producing a pair of nailbiters that saw Apple Core take the opener 6-3 and Springfield skating away with a 5-4 win on Sunday.
Philadelphia and the Connecticut Oilers likewise played to a split. The Revolution took the opening contest 2-1, but the Oilers rebounded for a convincing win on Sunday.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: The Islanders and Bandits kick things off in Bridgewater at 1:30 PM on Wednesday. Springfield visits the South Shore Kings at 3:30 PM on Wednesday before traveling to Lewiston, ME, for a pair against the Portland Jr. Pirates. The Junior Bruins and Islanders clash in Exeter, NH, on Saturday afternoon, and the Bruins face the Hitmen in Exeter on Sunday at 1:30. Apple Core visit the Revolution in Philadelphia for a two-game set. Valley hosts Bay State on Saturday night before traveling to Foxboro for a Sunday morning matchup with the South Shore Kings. Bay State hosts the Bandits on Sunday at 3:30. All games will be broadcast on FastHockey.com.
ALUMNI UPDATE: Doug Carr (UMASS-Lowell/ South Shore Kings) was named Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week. John Henrion (University of New Hampshire/ Junior Bruins) and Mark Nemec (University of Maine/ New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs) were named to the Top Performers List. Brandon Nunn (Holy Cross/ Bridgewater Bandits) and Jeff Hannan (Niagara University/ Monarchs) were named to the Atlantic Hockey Weekly Honor Roll. Eric Mihalik (Colgate University/ Bay State Breakers) was nominated for ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week.
-Mike Klein, 24 October 2012