On Friday afternoon, March 11th, the Moose kicked of the 2011 CHA playoffs by taking on the Bay State Breakers. Bay State was one of the top CHA teams all year long and the Moose knew they had to be prepared as Bay State had defeated them a month earlier at a CHA showcase. Despite leading the game with under a minute to go, the Moose would go on to lose in overtime 5-4.
This put the Moose in danger of being eliminated on Saturday. The team knew they had to win both games to advance to the cross over round. The players regrouped and came out ready to play against the always tough Pittsburgh Penguins. The Moose were able to handle the Penguins energy early on and managed to come away with a 7-4 victory. Next up for the Moose was the Brewster Bulldogs. The Moose got rolling early and never stopped as they cruised to a 13-0 victory. The two victories set up a semi-final game against the rival Mass Maple Leafs.
Mass boasts an impressive roster full of many junior hockey veterans and the Moose were prepared for an extremely tough opponent. The team woke early and had a team meeting to prepare for the task at hand. The coaching staff was extremely confident going into the game. Head Coach Craig Doremus said: “I felt it was time for this team to come together as a whole; we had been close too many times. We knew with a break here or there we were ready to play a complete game. Having a young team like we do, it was a matter of time before we were ready to not only compete in big games but start to win them convincingly.” Early on, the game was tight as the two teams went toe to toe with each other. The game remained scoreless heading into the second period but then the Moose took advantage of several Mass penalties. The Moose scored an impressive 6 power play goals in the second to take a commanding 6-2 lead after two periods. Mass added another tally early in the third but the Moose were able to maintain their lead and come away with a very impressive 6-3 victory. This victory, along with a New Hampshire Monarchs' victory, meant the Moose would meet New Hampshire for the CHA title.
New Hampshire and the Moose had only met one time earlier in the season, with the Moose winning 5-0. The Moose staff scrambled in between games to gather information on the Monarchs and prepare the team for the battle. The Moose came out and were relentless from the drop of the puck. They took it to the Monarchs in every aspect of the game and captured the CHA title with an impressive 7-0 victory.
As the final horn sounded, the team exploded onto the ice and celebrated a much deserved victory. The team has battled all year long through injuries, youth, and many critics saying the team was too young or not talented enough to win. The coaches embraced and celebrated the victory knowing each of them worked hard this season to make this all possible.
Leading the way for the weekend was Gavin Grogan (12 points), John Schiavo (10 points), Marshall Johnson (9 points), and Mikey Biagioni (8 points). On defense, Kevin Barry, Brandon Pecoraro and Patty Mead all logged major minutes and were extremely effective in shutting down the opponents. Goaltenders Tommy Dorsey and Peter Guerriera each played well while splitting time. The Moose power play was an impressive 19 for 40 (47.50 %). The coaches were pleased with the entire team and firmly believe the team’s conditioning level was a big part of their success especially on Sunday.
Next up for the Moose is their third consecutive trip to USA Hockey Junior B Nationals. The Moose will face off against the Palm Beach Hawks, the Boston Junior Bruins and the Florida Junior Blades. Please follow the Moose at www.MetroMoose.com for continued updates as the Moose chase the Junior B National Championship!