It was another amazing Valley Hockey League season which was capped off by exciting and nail-biting championship action at rinks located across the state.
In what was a fitting finale to a marathon season which spanned from September through April, a record number of 44 games went deep into overtime including 26 games which were decided in a shootout and two games which ended in an always-exciting double shootout!
Although all playoff games will be covered by Rink Reporter Mike Shalin (look for those roundups to be posted shortly), we congratulate all teams on a job well done.
Also, please don't forget to send in your championship photos to the VHL (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can post your memories on our web site!
In the meantime, here are a few highlights from the playoffs!
Just the Stats
- 2,619 goals were scored in 451 playoff games.
- A total of 21 cross-over games – which featured American Conference champions facing off against National Conference champions – were contested.
- For the second year in a row, the American Conference led the way with 12 victories.
The Medal Count
- One year after Andover captured the top spot with nine medals, three organizations - Reading, Andover and Lexington/Bedford finished in a three-way tie for first place with six medals.
- Reading claimed a league-leading five gold medals.
- Andover finished with four golds and two silvers, while Lexington/Bedford earned three golds and three silvers
- Just one medal back were six programs – Burlington, North Andover, Stoneham, Waltham, P.A.T. and Melrose.
Double the Fun
- Tewksbury hosted two quarterfinal games which were decided in double shootouts!
- It took eighth-seeded Salem Squirt 2 extra time to defeat top-seeded Andover Squirt 2 by a score 5-4.
- Similarly, second-seeded Nashoba Squirt 3 outlasted Beverly Squirt 1 by a 2-1 margin.
- While many top-seeded teams have cruised to the finals, upsets have also played a key role in this year's playoffs.
- In the Squirt Blue North Division, the seventh-seeded North Andover Squirt 1 team knocked off the second, sixth and then the first seeded teams to capture the divisional title.
- In the divisional finale, North Andover – which finished with an 8-13-2 record – defeated top-seeded Lexington-Bedford Squirt 1 by a score of 3-2 in a shootout.
- The eighth-seeded Cape Ann Bantam 1 squad survived close games against top-seeded Arlington and then No. 4 Concord before outlasting Haverhill-Pentucket by a 3-1 score in the finals.
- Fourth-seeded Newburyport Bantam 3 knocked off top-seeded Acton-Boxboro Bantam 4 in a 4-3 decision and Lexington-Bedford Bantam 2 scored five goals and held Waltham Bantam 2 to just one goal as they pulled out the win as a 5th seed.
- Another big victory run was pulled off by Watertown Bantam 1... a team that entered the playoffs as a 6th seed but capped off a magical playoff run with a convincing 4-0 win over Acton-Boxboro Bantam B2B.
- Burlington Peewee 1 and Reading Peewee 2 entered the playoffs as sixth seeds, but they ended up as divisional champions by knocking off a pair of Maples teams. Burlington defeated top-seeded Maples Peewee 1 by a score of 3-1, while Reading skated to a 3-2 decision against Maples Peewee 2.
- Another sixth seed – Greater Lowell Squirt 2 – defeated No. 1 seed Salem Squirt 3 (a 21-game winner this season!) by a score of 5-3. That divisional victory gave Greater Lowell the opportunity to face off against Lynn Squirt 3 in the cross-over showdown. Lynn won that game, 8-6.
News and Notes
- The Nashua Mite 1s scored a come-from-behind
win to capture the Blue North National Championship. The team entered the final two games of the regular season in last place in a very competitive and tight divisional race. However, two key wins during the final weekend of play were rewarded with a 4th-place finish. Three straight victories later (in the playoffs) resulted in a divisional victory for the Nashua Mite 1s!
More exciting highlights to come when the 2011-2012 VHL Playoff Roundups are posted. Keep checking back to the site!