The Jersey Hitmen 2000 team traveled to the south shore of Massachusetts this weekend to kick off their season at the Tier 1 Faceoff tournament. After a tough week of training camp, things would not get any easier as the 2000’s were faced with a five game round robin format and the prospect of playing as many as seven games on the weekend. In the highly competitive event the Hitmen were slotted into the tournaments top division (Elite) packed with highly touted opponents.
In their first contest of the new season the 2000’s came out on fire, easily dispatching of the Connecticut Chiefs, evoking the tournament’s mercy rule in a 6-0 victory. Tyler Sedlak potted the Hitmen’s first goal of the year just under seven minutes into play with the help of Luke MacMillan and Mickey Burns. Sedlak and Burns would factor in on Jersey’s second goal of the first period when Nick Siffringer found the net with 4:38 remaining in the period.
In the second period the Hitmen upped their production, tallying three goals, the first of which came off the stick of newcomer Zach Frisk. Georgie Weiner and Stephen Perez would pick up assists on Frisk’s first goal as a member of the Hitmen. Defenseman John Campomenosi would get the blueline involved in the scoring when he ripped a point shot home at 9:57 of the second. Marc Perez and Graham Garlasco picked up their first points of the season on Campomenosi’s goal. The second period scoring would conclude with Siffringer firing home his second of the game with the help of Campomenosi and Burns.
With the tournament’s six goal mercy rule within reach the Hitmen continued their push into the third period. Despite quality pressure the Hitmen were unable to reach the six goal mark until Frisk netted his second goal on the day to bring the game to an end. Goaltender Tyler Bost picked up his first official win, and shutout as a member of the Hitmen turning aside 14 shots.
In game two of the weekend the Hitmen faced off against a pesky East Coast Wizards teams. Luke MacMillan would get the scoring started early, picking up his first goal of the day just two minutes into play. Marc Perez and Aaron Bohlinger picked up the assists on MacMillan’s first goal of the season. Tyler Sedlak would put Jersey up by two when he scored just over a minute later. However, the Wizards would not go quietly and pulled the game even at two before the end of the first.
The second period saw the Hitmen begin with a dominant stretch that yielded three goals in less than a minute. Mickey Burns got the scoring party started with the help of Nick Siffringer and Marc Perez at 12:10. On the very next shift MacMillan would take a John Campomenosi feed and deposit a shot behind the Wizard goaltender to stretch Jersey’s lead back to two. Burns capped furious scoring spree with his second of the game with a power play tally from Campomenosi and Siffringer. Later in the second Siffringer would collect a goal of his own to give the Hitmen a 6-2. After Hitmen goaltender Kenny Burgess left with an injury, a cold Tyler Bost would allow the first shot he faced before closing the door on the Wizards for the remainder of the game. As the clock wound down the Hitmen skated away with a 6-3 win, moving their record to 2-0.
In a mid weekend hiccup the Hitmen would drop their next two contests to the Boston Jr Terriers and South Shore Kings, before righting the ship in their final round robin game. Entering game five of the weekend against the Boston Jr Rangers the Hitmen were still within reach of not only a playoff birth, but the top seed in the “Elite East” bracket. In this game the Hitmen returned to their impressive form, dropping the Rangers by a score of 6-1.
Luke MacMillan continued his impressive weekend, putting home the Hitmen’s first goal with the help of Michael Forgione and Zach Frisk. From there Mickey Burns collected his second power play goal of the weekend with just under a minute left in the first. Returning from injury Kenny Burgess turned aside four of the five shots he faced in the first period and the frame ended with the Hitmen leading 2-1.
In the second period Jersey took control of the contest. Marc Perez got things going when he put home a feed from Graham Garlasco. Tyler Sedlak then scored his first of two with the help of MacMillan and Mickey Burns. Sedlak continued his torrid scoring pace, forcing a turnover and swiftly firing a shot through the legs of the Rangers goalie to bring the score to 5-1. Graham Garlasco finished the scoring with his second goal in as many games with the help of John Campomenosi to conclude the scoring.
By virtue of their win and a SouthShore loss the Hitmen claimed the number seed in their bracket, setting up a semi final contest against hometown rivals the North Jersey Avalanche.
In what was a very tightly contested contest the Hitmen drew first blood when Mickey Burns scored from Nick Siffringer less than three minutes in. The Avalanche would tie the score at one just under three minutes later.
In the second period the Avalanche capitalized on Hitmen turnover midway through the period to pull ahead 2-1 heading to the third. In the third period the Hitmen fought, but could not find the equalizer. With time running out the Hitmen put on the full court press, allowing for the Avs to pad their lead with just over a minute remaining. As the clock wound down the Hitmen would not be able to find their magic, dropping a 3-1 decision to their rivals.
Notes: The Hitmen will be back in action this weekend with five more games at Avalanche hosted Super Series. They wont’ have to wait long to try and exact revenge on the Avs as the two teams will square off on Friday night, in the event’s opening game.