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Hitmen 18U Focus on Defense

By Karl Reidel, 09/24/15, 6:00PM EDT


This past weekend, the 2015-2016 18U Jersey Hitmen hosted the Connecticut Jr. Rangers and continued right where they left off last weekend when they swept the Skipjacks. The Hitmen struck first midway through the first period when Danny Reidel went five hole from between the hash-marks with assists from Thomas Terranova and Michael Jordan.
It turned out that was all the Hitmen would need Saturday afternoon against the Jr. Rangers as they went on to a 6-0 victory behind the strong goaltending of Alexei Masanko who turned away all 14 Jr. Ranger shots to record his first shutout of the young season. Not to be overlooked was the unforgiving defensive play of Brandon O’Callahan, AJ DeCesare, Max Lewecki, Eric Manoukian, Anthony Firriolo and Christian DeCesare which kept the Jr. Rangers on the perimeter all game and limited any opportunities in front of Masanko. Thomas Terranova and Chris Mazzella contributed two (2) goals each and Devin Pepe rounded out the scoring.
Game 2 of the weekend series was again highlighted by outstanding Hitmen goaltending and stingy defense. This time it was Tyler Harmon who stopped 19 of 20 shots as the Hitmen defeated the Jr. Rangers 5-1. Eric Manoukin contributed from the blueline with the first goal of the game.
Devin Pepe scored with 5:38 left in the second period but the Jr. Rangers cut the lead in half with only 35 seconds left in the period. Pepe answered that goal with his second of the game at the start of the third period and 38 seconds later Rob Clerc made it 4-1. Marty Kapoian finished the Hitmen scoring by netting his first goal of the season at 13:11 of the third period capping a 5-1 Hitmen victory.
Next weekend the Hitmen 18U travel to the New England Sports Center to play in the Jr. Bruins Shootout.