It’s only October, but the Jersey Hitmen Bantam Major team has already checked off a very big box - EHF Invitational Champions! Facing stiff competition, the Hitmen reeled off three straight wins to blitz their way to the coveted title.
The Hitmen began play on Saturday morning with an 8-2 win over the Islanders Hockey Club. Forward Colin Watson led the way with a hat trick and one assist. Forward Ty Oller recorded two goals and one assist, Forward Cory Robinson had a goal and one assist, Forward Erik Bjornson had a goal and two assists and Forward Tommy Scully also recorded a goal. Goalie Daniel Dmitrievsky earned the victory in net making 11 saves.
Up next the Hitmen squared off against a very good CT Jr. Huskies squad. The game ended in a 2-2 tie with Defenseman Kenny Kalman and Forward Braeden Guiterman lighting the lamp. Goalie Justinas Sanders was excellent in net turning aside 28 shots.
The Bantam Major team would fall short in their third contest of the weekend, losing 4-2 to a very talented Minutemen Flames team. After trailing 2-0 early, the Hitmen rallied and tied the game at two (goals by Watson and Defensemen Ethan Leja) late in the second period but they couldn’t hold off the Flames who would tack on two more goals before the final horn would sound.
Needing a victory in their final round robin game, the boys in blue delivered with a 6-3 win over the Boston Jr. Terriers. Dmitrievsky and Sanders split the game making 20 saves on their way to the victory. Goals scored by Defenseman Owen Waivada, Forward Josh Shpungin, Forward Jake Rosolanko, Bjornson, Scully and Oller.
After earning the fourth seed, the Hitmen would be matched up against the top-seeded Minutemen Flames. In a back and forth battle, it was the pack mentality that prevailed as the Hitmen took care of business with a 5-4 hard earned win. Watson recorded his second hat trick of the weekend with two unbelievable cannons and a huge wolfpack goal. Oller and Rosolanko also tallied goals in the victory. Sanders was up to the task in net, earning the victory by making 39 saves.
In the championship game the Hitmen took on the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes. It was the Canes who struck first but it wasn’t long until the Hitmen answered back with a PP goal by Robinson. The Hitmen took the lead in the middle of the third off a 2 on 1 rush. Rosolanko made a beautiful pass to Watson who ripped one top shelf. The Hitmen had to kill off a 6 on 4 late to preserve the victory and earn them their first championship banner on the young season!
Notables: While Watson led the team in points for the weekend, it was a total team effort with each forward recording at least one goal and multiple points - Oller, Robinson, Rosolanko, Bjornson, Scully, Guiterman and Sphungin all finding the scoresheet. Defensemen Kalman, Leja and Waivada tallied goals while Kelmer and St. Pierre recorded assists and played excellent defense. Andrew Chanfrau was the ultimate team player this weekend, finding himself doing double duty as a Forward and Defenseman. Chanfrau played a key role in the victories by providing offense and playing great shut down defense.
Up Next - Friday @ NJ Devils; Sunday @ Southern CT Hurricanes