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BJW 2002 Elite Team Captures Battle of Boston Championship!

Monday, July 23, 2018, 2:35PM

Walpole, MA - The Boston Junior Whalers 2002 Elite Team traveled from far and wide this past weekend to arrive in southern Massachusetts to compete for a crack at the championship in the first ever Battle of Boston Showcase.

The Battle of Boston featured 14 of the premier programs from New England, Ontario, Minnesota, and more, all competing for a common goal, to walk away as champions on Sunday afternoon.

The weekend began on Friday evening where the BJW 2002 Elites played host to a very strong Northstar Elite Minnesota team.  The goaltending tandem of Owen Parker (Buffalo Regals) and Kiron Morioka (Shattuck St. Mary's) combined for their first of what would be three shared shutouts on the weekend, and Max Itagaki (Chicago Mission) paced the offense with a 3-1-4 line as the boys opened up the weekend with a 5-0 blanking of Northstar Elite Minnesota.

Saturday was a day where the boys learned a lot about themselves, as the morning did not start on a favorable note.  The team dropped a 5-2 decision to a strong Top Shelf Connecticut team by a score of 5-2, as sloppy defensive zone breakdowns and lack of puck movement in the offensive zone proved to be detrimental.  Sitting at 1-1, the boys knew that if they wanted to be one of the eight teams to move on to the Quarter-Finals on Sunday, they needed to win their nightcap against an always-strong Evolve Hockey NY squad.  And win they did, coming out flying from the puck drop and scoring 4 goals in the first 6 minutes of the hockey game, and forcing a timeout to be called by the other team to regroup.  The final score ended up being 6-1, as defenseman Will Bowman (Chicago Mission) and winger Noah Sedore (Lindsay Muskies OJHL) led the charge with 2 goals a piece, and Will Traeger (Shattuck St. Mary's), Jet Lee Swift (Minnetonka HS MN), and Mitch Koehner (Lakeville North HS MN) each tallied two point nights of their own.

This 2-1 record gave our boys the #4 Seed in the Quarter-Finals round, finishing just behind the three teams that went 3-0 in Round Robin.  The boys skated past a strong Evolve Hockey Boston group by a score of 4-2, paced again by two-point games from Itagaki, Luke Ruegemer (Eden Prairie HS MN), and Avvi Tanasiyenko (Team Maryland).  Evolve Hockey NY defeated the #1 Seed Hockey Essentials in their Quarter-Final matchup, forcing a rematch with them in the Semi-Final Round.  That game proved to be similar to Saturday evening's matchup, as Victor Malzahn (Anaheim Jr. Ducks) & Dayne Hoyord (Team Wisconsin) carried the majority of the pressure in a great team effort to punch their ticket to the finals with a 3-0 win over Evolve Hockey NY and the second shutout by the Parker/Morioka tandem.

In the other semi-final matchup, the THD Elite Team from Mid-Fairfield Connecticut punched their ticket with a 3-0 win over Minnesota, setting up a much anticipated Championship Game.  After a scoreless first half, it was Will Traeger who broke the tie on a power play goal from Itagaki and Sedore with 7:40 remaining in the game.  Three minutes later, Hoyord hit a breaking Sedore who set up Koehner for a laser from the slot, and with just over 4:00 to play, put the BJW 2002 Elites up 2-0.  After diving to block a shot, Itagaki sealed it with 1:14 to play as he buried his self-created mini breakaway to put the game away with an empty-netter, and the boys defeated THD Elite by a score of 3-0 to earn the crown as 2018 Battle of Boston Champions.

Congratulations to the BJW 2002 Elite Team on their much deserved title;  Forwards: Max Itagaki (Chicago Mission), Noah Sedore (Lindsay Muskies OJHL), Will Traeger (Shattuck St. Mary's), Dayne Hoyord (Team Wisconsin), Avvi Tanasiyenko (Team Maryland), Jet Lee Swift (Minnetonka HS MN), Mitch Koehner (Lakeville North HS MN), and Luke Ruegemer (Eden Prairie HS MN).  Defesnse: Will Bowman (Chicago Mission), Victor Malzahn (Anaheim Jr. Ducks/Phillips Andover Academy), Luke Busby (Eden Prairie HS MN), Bob Lockwood (St. Louis AAA Blues), and Dugan Bradfield (Detroit Fox Motors Club).  Goalies: Owen Parker (Buffalo Regals) & Kiron Morioka (Shattuck St. Mary's).