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huskies logo For Immediate Release - FITCHBURG HUSKIES ARE THE PROUD AMERICANS

November 20, 2006
Contact: Chuck Barney Media Director
Home: (978) 835-6943
E-mail: chb@bicnet.net


Fitchburg, MA-The The New England Huskies Junior Hockey organization sent an under 18 age team to Moncton, New Brunswick Canada last weekend as the first American team ever to play in the Monctonian, the world's largest Midget AAA tournament. The Huskies team was based on the Fitchburg Huskies, the organization's Junior B team with two age eligible players pulled down from the Major Junior team, the New England Huskies. The Huskies won four games out of its first five to gain a birth in the semifinals, eventually losing to the Cole Harbour Midgets 5-3 after playing three games the previous day because they had to secure a wildcard birth in the early rounds of the tournament.

In its 26th year, the Monctonian is the most highly scouted under-18 age tournament in Canada and included fifty Canadian teams along with the Huskies. The tournament had more than a hundred and fifty pro, college and Major Junior scouts and for one of the Husky games twenty NHL scouts were in attendance. "To be invited to play in the Monctonian is a tremulous honor for both the players and the Husky organization," says Husky team owner Leo Gould. "This is the prime scouting opportunity for coaches in Canada and our players were definitely noticed."

Players from the local area that went to Moncton from New Hampshire include Keene goalie Drew Roeder (just back from playing in USA Hockey's first ever Junior Jamboree All Star tournament), defenseman Brendan Richard of Derry, Merrimack forwards Tim Schaller and Trevor Peltak, Nashua's Matt Gould, and forward Brendan Sheehan from Bedford. North Central Massachusetts players included Leominster forwards John Celli, Andrew Hildreth, Trevor and Nevin Lawler, Pepperell defenseman Brendan McCann and goalies Corey McMahon and Terence Dineen and forward Paul Snell of Groton.

Roeder played five out the six games including winning all three games Saturday because the Huskies backup goalie Harry Bartlett was injured in the second game and the team was unable to platoon the two goalies. Roeder stopped 29 shots in the Huskies first game, a fast and furious 5-4 win Thursday night immediately after the Huskies got off the bus after a 10 hour bus ride. Trevor Lawler had two goals, Richard had a goal, while Peltak and Gould each had an assist in the winning effort.

Friday the Huskies played the St. John's Maple Leafs and despite an outstanding game by the goaltender Bartlett, the Huskies lost to the eventual tournament champions 3-1. Saturday morning's game would determine if the Huskies advanced to a wild card round when they played the Cornwall Thunder. The Huskies left no doubt they were here to stay as they battled back from a 4-2 deficit after the second period to take the game 5-4 on an explosive outburst with three goals in five minutes from McCann, Gould and Snell. Roeder had 24 saves in goal.

The Cornwall win gave the Huskies the chance to play two hours later when they beat Cape Breton West 5-2 on goals by English, McCann, Snell, Ben Pacific of Marlboro MA, and Norwegian defenseman Patrik Wikstrand. Goaltender Roeder, in his second game in a four hour span, seemed to get better with the additional workload and stopped 18 shots as the Huskies moved onto the quarter finals against the St. John Vitos Midgets.

With a chance to make it into the final four and again playing four hours later, the Huskies, who the Canadian fans thought would be sent home after three losses dominated St. John 6-2. Husky Captain Nate Sayer from Dracut MA was a offensive giant with a three goal hat trick and an assist to go with Snell's two goals and Lawler's goal and two assists to fill out the score sheet. Roeder again was close to unbeatable in his third game of the day with 29 saves.

The tournament semifinal game against Cole Harbour was played the next morning at 9 AM, the fourth game in twenty for hours for the Huskies and despite another excellent effort by Roeder and the fact that the Huskies the had played three games the day before and its opponents only one due to the tournament format eventually showed as they lost 5-3 after holding Cole Harbour to a 2-2 tie after the first period The Huskies out shot Cole Harbour 28 to 23 and survived three 5 on 3 short handed situations with Snell getting an unassisted goal on the first two man shorthanded situation for the third and final Husky score. Pacific and Sayer had the other two goals and Lawler and Brian Nehring of Hopedale MA each had two assists.

"We couldn't be happier with our team " says Gould. "We were the talk of the tournament because of how they played." Gould is a recent New Hampshire Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and a scout and part of the management of the Moncton Wildcats Junior team that won the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship (generally referred to as the Q and the Canadian development system for the National Hockey League) last year and feels that the trip showed the younger players in the Husky organization how good they really are. "The kids from this tournament get pulled up directly into the Q and even though no one expected it, we showed we can play at the very top levels of hockey."

The New England Huskies organization will be back at the tournament next year and will field two teams, a Major and Minor team to give more of its players a chance to play again some of the best under 18 players in Canada.

The Fitchburg Huskies next home game is December 3rd at 3 PM against the Capital district Selects from Albany, New York at the Gaetz Arena in Fitchburg, MA.

For more information contact the Huskies' organization at 508-634-3746 or visit its website at www.jrhuskies.com.

 

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