Philadelphia Junior Flyers Win the MJHL 2015-16 Foster Cup Championship
Junior Flyers win Foster Cup Championship
Release Date : 03/20/2016
RANDOLPH, N.J. – Ian Hibshman (Hershey, Pa.) broke a 4-4 third period tie with his first goal of the playoffs, as the Philadelphia Junior Flyers defeated the Jersey Wildcats, 7-4, in game four, to win the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League’s Foster Cup Championship at Aspen Ice Arena on Sunday evening.
Winners of the President’s Trophy as the MJHL’s regular season champion, the Junior Flyers followed quarter and semifinal wins over the Central Penn Panthers and the Brewster Bulldogs, with a 3 games to 1 victory over the Wildcats to complete their championship quest.
Teddy Fitzgerald (Haverford, Pa.) was named Most Valuable Player of the Foster Cup Championship Playoffs after registering 12 points (6G 6A) for the Junior Flyers during their championship run.
“In my opinion, he’s one of the best players in the league,” said Philadelphia’s head coach Jason Kilcoyne. “He’s an amazing ice hockey player. He does so many amazing things that I just love watching him play; I really enjoy watching him play.”
The MJHL’s Most Valuable Player, Tyler Glennon (Kennett Square, Pa.), paced the Flyers with two goals and two assists in game four. Both goals were of the empty-net variety, coming in the game’s final two minutes, providing valuable insurance for Philadelphia. Glennon matched Fitzgerald with 12 points (6G 6A), leading the Philadelphia offense. The Junior Flyers led the MJHL in the regular season with 258 goals and also led all teams in the postseason with 49.
“It was very important for us to take a lot of shots and to get to the net,” Kilcoyne offered. “They had some sort of flaw in their defense where the high slot was open a lot, so we were able to place a guy there and get a lot of scoring opportunities, and we were able to capitalize.”
Mark Bowen (Harrison, N.J.) singlehandedly kept the Wildcats alive both, in the game, and the series, with a game four hat-trick, including the game-trying goal, just 48 seconds into the third period.
How it happened: Bowen would put the hosts on the board first, scoring just 16 seconds into the first period. The goal marked the first time in the series that Jersey opened the scoring.
“Everyone was elated,” said Wildcats head coach Justin Stanlick. “We did exactly what we talked about, so to be able to go out and do that to start the game was certainly a boos for us.”
After a Ryan Irving (Belle Meade, N.J.) minor for interference, Philadelphia evened the score on a Gannon Stuart (Glen Mills, Pa.) powerplay goal, just 13 seconds before the man-advantage would expire. It was a goal by Jack Allen (West Chester, Pa.) just three seconds after an expired powerplay that opened the scoring in game three.
“I think the story for games three and four were the penalties,” Stanlick said. “We bounced in game two with no penalties in 60 [minutes] but to have 11 [over] the last two games is too much. You can’t give a team that’s that skilled that many opportunities on the powerplay.”
Stuart’s goal would begin a stretch of three, unanswered goals for Philadelphia, as Hayden Mathais (Phoenixville, Pa.) and Vitaliano Salerno (Logan Township, N.J.) each scored, giving the Junior Flyers a 3-1 lead.
Adam Tracey (Sleepy Hollow, NY) drew the Wildcats to within one, but Allen would answer just 1:47 later, giving the Junior Flyers a 4-2 advantage at the first intermission.
The Philadelphia “answer-goal” was a recurring theme throughout the evening.
“We’ve been down, 3-0, this season, 4-0, 4-1, and these guys don’t look at that,” Kilcoyne said. “They just continue to play hard. They keep working, working, working, and they know that eventually they will wear them down.”
Bowen’s second goal of the game would be the only marker in the second period. The Harrison, New Jersey resident would complete the natural hat-trick, tying the game at 4, just 48 seconds into the final frame, giving new life to the hosts.
“That line of Bowen-Tracey-Pavlini, those guys are great hockey players and they were able to come back,” Kilcoyne said.
However, as was the case in period one, the Junior Flyers had a response for Bowen’s tying goal when Hibshman buried a feed from Alec Dugan (Southampton, Pa,), scoring past a diving Nicholas Battaglia (Staten Island, N.Y.) at 4:30 of the third period, a goal that would become the championship-winner.
“I told my guys in the locker room after the second period, that if I had to be on a team in the third period, I’d take [us] every single time,” Kilcoyne added.
“They came right hard right off the draw and basically, we had a little bit of miscoverage and it kind of broke down to a two-on-none,” Stanlick said. “Then a great play by [Dugan] to get it over [to Hibshman] and they bury it. That’s how they are; they’re opportunistic. One mistake on our part and it ends up in our net.”
“The guys that scored, those guys didn’t get much ice-time tonight,” Kilcoyne commented. “For me to be able to look on the bench and put them out there, and then not only have them contribute, but score the game-winning goal, it just shows the kind of team we have. Everyone works for everyone on this team.”
Now armed with a 5-4 lead, the rest was up to goaltender Gregory Schenk (Garnet Valley, Pa.). Schenk was up to the task, making nine of his 35 saves in the final frame to protect the one-goal lead.
“I think we came closer in the middle and the end of the second period,” Stanlick reflected. “I think Tracy hit a shot of the crossbar, but we were never able to get into that fifth, sixth gear in the third. I think that’s a credit to them. They took away a lot of time and space and we really couldn’t be creative because of what they were doing.”
After Niko Werosta (Medford, N.J.) was whistled for roughing, the Wildcats pulled Nicholas Battaglia (Staten Island, N.Y.) in an attempt to even the game, however, it was Glennon providing the offense, scoring two empty-net goals, one minute apart, to seal the victory.
Battaglia entered the game in relief of starter Ondrej Smalec (Cranford, N.J), making 37 saves over his 44 minutes of work.
In their words: “We came into this season talking about sticking together, be a family, be a team, win together,” Kilcoyne said. “We took a bad loss in game two and that’s the only I said in the locker room: ‘we need to shrug it off and move on. It’s one game’. That was the same thing the Wildcats did from game one to game two. The family. It’s more of a family than a team. The best teams I ever played on, that’s how they were run and the way the best teams are at any level, so in my opinion, you have to have that component of being a family and that was the more important thing [for us]. I’m proud of this team and grateful for all of the help my staff, especially Brent Bagdon, has given me this year. This was a great team championship.”
“I couldn’t be more proud [of my team],” Stanlick shared. “Every week we progressed and we never focused on winning. We just focused on getting the kids better and development and they did. Throughout the season they did that and tonight we really put it to [our] big three veterans that they have to come back and they did with a huge game. Everybody chipped in and it was a great year and congrats to the Flyers – they were a great team.”
What’s next: The 2016-17 season!
· Eddie Pavlini (Far Hills, N.J.) finished as the postseason’s leading scorer with seven goals and 12 assists (19 points)
· Bowen’s nine goals led all players
· Kevin Dorozinsky (Warrington, Pa.) led all goaltenders with a 1.60 goals against average and a 0.940 save percentage
· While Glennon and Fitzgerald led the Junior Flyers with 12 points, it was a total team effort throughout the playoffs, as 17 of 18 skaters registered at least one point and 16 of 18 skaters had at least one goalFounded by former New York Rangers General Manager Emile Francis and celebrating its 50th year of existence, making it the longest USA Hockey-sanctioned Junior hockey league in the United States, the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League has a membership of 15 teams spread across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions and prides itself on player development for athletes ages 16-20 who aspire to reach higher levels of junior, collegiate and professional hockey.
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