Last weekend saw the inaugural showcase for the High Performance Youth Division in Simsbury, CT. With four games over the weekend, our PeeWee Minor team displayed some great team effort going 2-2 (with an overtime loss) during the trip.
Game 1 was a back and forth affair with the Westchester ExPress. WXP took an early 1-0 lead only to have Dean Toskos tie it up on a tip in goal off a Jack Kelmer shot. Going into the second half, both teams traded chances with nothing to show for it. With 8 minutes left, the Hitmen took a major penalty plus another minor to put the team down for 7 minutes. An outstanding job by the PK, killing all 7 minutes, gave huge momentum into the final minute of the game where Emporio Ienciu scored on a beautiful backhand goal to lift the Hitmen to a 2-1 win. Tyler Benjamine got the win in goal.
Game 2 was another tight affair, down early again to the PAL Islanders, before Ty Oller hit with a wrister to tie the score. The Islanders were able to put home a pp goal and then a Short handed goal to take a 4-1 lead before Dean Toskos scored on a nice breakaway goal to cut the score in half. That was all the scoring as the Hitmen dropped a 4-2 loss.
Game 3 saw the first ever 3 on 3 overtime for the USPHL PeeWee division. A back and forth affair with the Hitmen and Express trading goals finished regulation at 3 goals a piece. The team in blue carried the play for the first few minutes with nothing on the board and as it sometimes goes in OT, the Express scored on a bouncer of a goal. Josh Shpungin, Michael Brogna and Ty Oller lit the lamp for the Hitmen.
Game 4 was another tightly contested game against in state rival, Jersey Rockets. The two teams traded chances for the entire first half, with the Rockets getting a late goal to take a 1-0 lead into the half. A calm demeanor and fierce effort pushed the Hitmen in the second half for that tying goal. With just under 4 minutes left AJ Wenzel ripped a shot from the point and Dean Toskos with a great tip in tied the score at 1. Using that momentum, Josh Shpungin ripped a one timer the next shift to give the Hitmen a 2-1 lead and ultimately the win. All 5 players on the ice touched the puck before Josh finished it in!
Overall, the games were tight and competitive with the Hitmen coming out as a team to be reckoned with.