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Back to Back-Junior Bruins Win Regular Season Title Again!

Bruins Repeat as Empire League Champs

Junior BruinsMARLBORO, MA-On Wednesday afternoon the Junior Bruins and NE Jr. Falcons had a matinee at the New England Sports Center and a win would lock up the Empire Junior League's Regular Season Championship for the B's. The B's, behind a four goal game from Derek Arnold (pictured-below right), won, and, for the second year in a row, are regular season champs.

Derek ArnoldThe Bruins got out to a 5-0 lead on goals by Arnold (2), Justin Mansfield, Paul Cinquegrana and captain Sean Sullivan. After the Falcons got one back the B's scored three more off the sticks off Arnold (2) and Nick Foy. The Falcons got two late goals to close out the scoring at 8-3. Goalie Clay Witt picked up the win making 18 saves.

The B's had a season for the ages as the team and players set league records in numerous categories. The team and its players also led the league in several offensive and defensive categories. All this done as being the youngest team in the league. "To accomplish what this group has has been remarkable," coach Andy Powers commented. "As defending champs we knew we would have a target on our backs and having 15 new players on our team made the challenge that much greater. We lost a lot of firepower from last year's team but the returning players and the new guys did a great job filling those shoes and not missing a beat."

The Bruins finished the regular season with a 40-3-1 record which matched the win total of the prior year which is an Empire League record. No other team has put up a 40 win season, let alone two in a row. The Bruins two season record in regular season play in Connor Knappthe league is 80-7-2 which is good for a .900 winning percentage. En route to their second consecutive regular season title the Bruins led the league in goals against with 85 and GAA with 1.93 on the season. That 1.93 is second best in Empire league history. Clay WittThe Bruins goaltending duo of Connor Knapp (pictured-left) and Clay Witt (pictured-right) were big reasons the team had the success it did. Knapp had a big year leading the league in virtually every goalie statistical category.

Knapp, a '90 goalie out of York, NY, led the league in wins (22), GAA (1.66), save percentage (.932%) and win percentage (.960%). He was third in the league with three shutouts. Witt, a '91 out of Brandon, FL, was right behind Knapp as he was 4th in the league in wins (18) and GAA (2.13), 3rd in win percentage (.86%), 5th in shutouts (2) and 7th in save percentage (.912%). Knapp's 22 wins is a league record and his 1.66 GAA is third best in league history while his save .932 save percentage is second best in league history.

Tommy MonteiroJoey DillonIn addition to the strong play out of the teams' goalies the defensive corps of Tommy Monteiro (pictured-left), Evan Gogonis, Joey Dillon (pictured-right), Colin Shea, Steve Ginand, Danny Federico and Ryan Brothers were strong all season. In addition to their strong defensive play that led to leading the league in fewest goals allowed at 85 they also had a pair that were among league leaders for defensemen in scoring. Evan Gogonis, a 1990 from Northboro, MA, led the Bruins in scoring and broke the team record of points for a defensemen in a season (league play) with his 6-50-56 line. Those 56 points were second only to '88 Mike Kavanaugh who led the league in scoring for a defensemen. Gogonis' 50 assists were second in the league (including forwards). Dillon had a 34 point season which was good for 4th in scoring amongst defensemen and his 33 assists were 3rd amongst defensemen.

Steve MorraJohn HenrionThe Bruins, in addition to being the league's stingiest defense, also had the most explosive offense leading the league in goals scored per game with a league high 253 goals scored and an average of 5.75 per game. The team was the only one in the league to have four players in the top 10 in league scoring. Derek Arnold's 38 goals-39 assists for 77 points was second in league scoring, Steve Morra's (pictured-left) 31 goals-41 assists for 72 points was third in league scoring, John Henrion's 43 goals-25 assists for 68 points was sixth in league scoring and Cory Kane's 29 goals-32 assists for 61 points was eighth in league scoring. Henrion (pictured-right), a '91 forward from Holden, MA led the league in game winning goals with 12. Arnold, Morra, Henrion and Kane were also the top four scorers in the National Conference.

Cory kaneThe black and gold's special teams were also among team leaders. The penalty kill unit was second in league with a 90.21 success rate. They also were fourth in short handed goals scored with 12. On the other side of the penalty the team had the third most power play goals with 63.

"One of the goals we set at the beginning of camp way back in August was to repeat as league champs and to realize that goal the players deserve all the credit. We feel the teams in the league are better than last year and winning was tougher this year than it was a year ago. The most positive sign is the development and improvement of the players and the team as a whole. We are a far different team than we were at the beginning of the season and the improvement across the board is the result of the players' hard work throughout the season," coach Chris Masters commented. "We are excited at accomplishing one of our goals and are excited at the prospect of getting back to the playoff championship game and taking one step further than we did last year."

The Bruins, who have earned home ice throughout the playoffs, will host the Green Mountain Glades in the first round of playoffs starting March 3 at NESC in Marlboro, MA.

2006-2007 Junior Bruins-Empire League Regular Season Championship


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