Boston, MA- The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and Jersey Hitmen won their semifinal series and will face off in the 2012 EJHL Gary Dineen Cup Championship Series.
The Monarchs traveled to Foxboro for their series with the Southern Division Champion South Shore Kings. On Saturday, Shane Walsh and Tyler Piacentini gave the Kings a 2-0 lead after the opening period. Jon Mleczko, Jimmy Vesey, Derek Colucci, and Nick Bligh all lit the lamp for the Kings in the second period. Brian Morgan put the Monarchs on the board in the third and Zach Andrews kept the Kings scoreless in the final frame. Robert Levin stopped 34 shots for the Kings.
In Sunday’s tilt, Mike Jamieson put the Monarchs on the board 17:33 into the first period. Nick Cruice tied the game midway through the second, but Connor Anthoine and Charlie Ackerman netted goals for the Monarchs in the final two minutes of the period. Dean Niezgoda pulled the Kings within one in the closing seconds, but the Monarchs skated off with the win. In the mini-game, Anthoine scored for the Monarchs 21 seconds after the opening faceoff. Jimmy Vesey tied it at 5:55 and Cruice gave the Kings the lead at 6:34. Connor Gorman tied the game at 8:22 and Anthoine put the Monarchs back in the lead at 12:31. Steve Miller sealed the victory with a goal with 30 seconds remaining and the Monarchs advanced to the finals.
Over in Marlboro, the Jersey Hitmen punched their second-straight trip to the finals with a sweep over the Junior Bruins. Jason Stephanik netted the first goal in the opening game and Andrew Black scored two power-play goals to give the Hitmen a 3-0 lead going into the second period. Kyle Smith, K.J. Tiefenwerth, Matt Lemire, and Cody Smith all scored for the Bruins to put them up 4-3, but Collin MacDonald tied the game with 26 seconds remaining in the period. Tim Clifton put the Hitmen back in front 6:39 into the third. Stephanik made it 6-4 with 3:03 to go and Steve Swavely iced the game with an empty-net goal with 1:12 on the clock.
On Sunday, Thane Heller scored for the Bruins just 42 seconds into the game. Peter Michalidis gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead at 3:57 and Heller made it 3-0 at 12: 36 to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead after one. Andrew Black scored a hat trick in the second period with two shorthanded tallies and a power play goal to have the teams enter the third period with a tie game. Jesse Petito put the Hitmen in front 1:28 into the final period and Steve Swavely stretched the lead to two at 5:45. Jack Riley scored an empty net goal to make it 6-3 in favor of the Hitmen with 1:19 remaining.
The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and Jersey Hitmen will meet in the EJHL Dineen Cup Championship Series at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, MA. The first game starts at 7:00 PM on Wednesday and the second game is slated for 5:00 PM on Thursday. If necessary, a deciding third game will be played on Friday at 2:20 PM.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)