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April 2011


The The Empire Junior B League had one of their most successful seasons since the league began back in 1997-98. Part of that success was that the league had 6 teams represented in the USA Hockey Junior B National Championship series with 5 of those teams advancing to the quarterfinals. Overall for the entire National Tournament the Empire League ended up with a record of 20-4-1. This eventually led to a Championship game pairing two Empire teams against each other, the Boston Jr Bruins facing off against the New Hampshire Monarchs.

The championship game turned out to be according to a number of fans that have followed the league since its beginning as the “most exciting game in league history”. During the regular season and the league playoffs the Jr. Bruins swept the 3 games they played against the Monarchs.

In the championship game the Monarchs put up a gallant fight but a goal from Mike Weaver at the 9:42 mark in the second overtime session gave the Jr. Bruins a 3-2 win and the USA Hockey Junior B National Championship for the 2010-11 season. The Monarchs got on the scoreboard first at the 15:14 mark in the first as Kyle LaJeunesse beat Jr. Bruins goaltender Brendan Leahy to take a 1-0 lead. Picking up the assist was Michael Cannata. Late in the period the Jr. Bruins had a 5-on-3 power play which proved successful for them as Jack Eichel scored from the slot to tie the game 1-1 after the first period. Assisting on the power play goal were Mac Cook and Kevin McKernan. 

A Jr. Bruins power play goal from Mac Cook midway in the second gave them a brief 2-1 lead with assists from his line mates Kevin McKernan and Jack Eichel. Forty seconds later the Monarchs tied the game 2-2 as Joseph York scored from a cross ice pass from Chris Zuccaro. Also assisting on the play was Matt Crowley.

Both goaltenders Drew Chase of the Monarchs and the Jr. Bruins Brendan Leahy came up with several big saves as the two teams played a total of 58:10 of exciting hockey before Weaver’s championship winning goal. Matt Manzella picked up the assist on Weaver’s goal. For the game Leahy had 31 saves and Chase had 59. With the win the Jr Bruins won their first national championship and it was the second year in a row that an Empire League team won at the Tier III Jr. B level.


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