The Mass Maple Leafs completed a clean sweep of all possible league titles that were available to them. The Leafs were Eastern Conference Champions, overall regular season champions and this past weekend added the playoff championship to the mantle.
The Leafs won the conference and regular season title with a 30-4-2 record that made them the #1 seed heading into the playoffs. The first opponent was NH Monarchs. The Monarchs was no stranger to the Leafs as they had previously played them 6 times and had a 4-1-1 record versus them. The Monarchs would jump out quick to a 1-0 lead for only the Leafs to respond two minutes later on a goal by Adam McGrath. The Leafs would then score three unanswered goals all by Joey Fernandes including an empty netter to seal the win. Cody Stocker was in between the pipes for the Leafs and had 31 saves for the victory.
The Leafs would then take on Apple Core. The Leafs earlier in the season had beaten Core 5-2.. The Leafs scoring was once again started by McGrath this time 16 seconds into the game. The Leafs would then score a power play goal by Ryan Fehnel and an even strength goal by Fernandes. Core scored a power play goal to close all the scoring in the first period. The Leafs would add a power play goal by Kurtis Garcia and even strength goals by Ric Loveless and Sam Jenkins. Core could only muster up another power play goal but that wasn’t enough as the Leafs would cruise to a 6-2 victory led by Stocker again between the pipes with 31 saves.
The Leafs would then take on New England Huskies. The Huskies was no stranger as the Leafs played Huskies last game of the season to clinch the regular season title by the score of 11-5. The Huskies was a pesky opponent all season long and this game was no different. Leafs goalie Donald Hesse came up with some very large stops to keep the Huskies scoreless as his teammates continued to pound shot after shot at the Huskies goalie. The Leafs finally cracked first on a shorthanded goal by Garcia assisted by CJ Cordeiro. Brandon Person would make it 2-0 on a tip in front of the net by Leafs defenseman Kevin Murphy. McGrath would close out the Leafs scoring assisted by Keenan Romero. Hesse would make 16 saves for the shutout victory.
The win advanced the Leafs to the playoffs semifinals versus the Western Conference regular season champion Suffolk PAL. The winner of this game would advance to Nationals. The Leafs would score a shorthanded goal to get on a board on a pretty 2 on 1 play pass from Cordeiro to Fernandes. Suffolk would score a power play goal to even it to close the first period. The second period both teams would have many end to end rushes but the Leafs capitalized on four of them with goals by Cordeiro, Fernandes, McGrath and Evan Marek. Suffolk had a shorthanded goal to close the scoring after two frames. The Leafs would then capitalize in a penalty filled 3rd period with five unanswered goals including 3 power play goals. The Leafs scoring was Cordeiro, B Person, Jenkins (2) and Eddy Botelho. Hesse would pick up the win with 30 saves in a 1-2 win. The Leafs would advance not only to the ESHL Championship game but also to Nationals after a year absence.
The Leafs would take on another familiar foe the Boston Junior Bruins. The Leafs split the season series 3-3 so this would be the rubber match of the season. The Bruins would jump on the board first. The Leafs a very resilent and relentless group would get even on a bullet stretch pass by defenseman Loveless to Fernandes to even it up to close the scoring after the first period. The Leafs would gain the territorial advantage in the second period with constant cycling and offensive pressure. The Leafs would score 3 goals in the period by Fernandes, McGrath and Marek. The Leafs would close out the second period 4-1. The third period would be all Stocker as the Lerafs goalie made several highlight reel saves. Stocker and the Leafs held off a valiant Bruins squad and the Leafs would win the first ever ESHL playoff championship. Stocker would finish with 30 saves.
The Leafs went 5-0 during the playoff sweep. Leafs Joey Fernandes led all scoring with 12 points to earn him playoff MVP to add to his regular season MVP title.
The 2011-12 Leafs edition goes into Nationals with a 55-18-5 record with a 35-4-2 ESHL record. The Leafs championship roster goalies Austin Miller (Colorado, Donald Hesse ( Salem, MA) and Cody Stocker (Arizona). The defensemen Ric Loveless (Missouri), Ian Maisonnueve (Indiana), Tyler Person (New Jersey), Michael Owen (Maryland), Jake Dyl (Somerset, MA), Kevin Murphy (Walpole, MA) and Sam Jenkins (Dartmouth, MA). The Leafs forwards CJ Cordeiro (Somerset, MA), Kurtis Garcia (Wareham, MA), Joey Fernandes (Milford, MA), Keenan Romero and Ryan Fehnel (Arizona), Adam McGrath (Bridgewater, MA), Evan Marek (Connecticut), Brandon Person ( New Jersey), Sidney Thomas (Nevada), Ryan McCarthy (Stirling, MA), Craig Parry (New Mexico), Steve Hole (Bellingham, MA and Eddy Botelho (Bristol, RI). The Leafs staff was Head Coach Tony DeSilva and assistant coach Kris Metea.
The Leafs have won their 7th playoff championship and become the only 3 time CHA/ESHL champion. The Leafs will be making their 10th Nationals appearance in their 14 year reign.