HAVERHILL, MA — The fifth annual Boston Bruins Holiday Tournament came to a close on Sunday as the top teams in five divisions converged on Haverhill's Valley Forum to determine champions.
"From a coaching perspective it's been great," said Rich Hayden, Head Coach of the Wilmington Wildcats Mite A. "The kids are out here having fun, the Bruins have been great — they love seeing Blades [the Bruins mascot], Bobby Sweeney did a great job — and they really emphasized the most important thing, which is fun around these holidays."
Both the champion and finalist of each youth hockey division were presented with individual awards. In addition, all participants took home a tournament t-shirt, along with a Boston Bruins gift bag.
"I had a lot of fun," said Dillon from Wilmington, whose club took home a championship trophy. "I just love how we kept trying."
In all, five divisional champions "kept trying," and took home trophies after five exciting contests.
Game 1: Masco Squirt A vs. Tewksbury Squirt A
Jake McDonough scored a hat trick as Head Coach Steve Lindsey's Tewksbury Squirts held on for a 5-3 win over the Masco Squirt A. Justin Rooney added two goals for the Redmen, while Tewksbury's Isabella Cahill (two goals) and Matthew McMillan scored for Masco.
Game 2: Tewksbury Mite A vs. Wilmington Mite A
Dillon Bloom was perfect in goal as the Wilmington Wildcats shut out the Tewksbury Redmen, 2-0. Matthew McKeil scored the game-winner and Ryan Hayden added the insurance goal for Head Coach Rich Hayden's club.
Game 3: Metro West Jets Mite AA vs. Masco Mite AA
Head Coach Bill Mertz's Masco Mites got a hat trick, including the game-winner, from Joseph Young, and Michael Berrigan added a goal and an assist, to top the Metro West Jets 4-3. Brady Butler, Mark Milko and Ben Douglas notched the goals for Metro West.
Game 4: Andover Mite 2 vs. Cape Ann Mite AA
Goalie Abigail Mellert earned the 4-3 win for Head Coach Kevin Vieira's Cape Ann club as Zoe Elwell, Jack Relanes, Max Vieira, and Brett Cunningham each contributed a goal. Matthew Conte (two goals) and Graham Dalton each scored for Andover.
Game 5: Cape Ann Squirt AA vs. Haverhill/Pentucket Squirt AA
Justin Bishop scored the overtime game-winner for Head Coach Richard Hassell's Haverhill/Pentucket team, who stopped Cape Ann 5-4 thanks also to goals from JoJo McDonald, Matt Bishop, Andrew Hassell, and Luke Tucker. Jack Costanzo, Robbie ANderson, Ryan Bergin, and Matt Connelly found twine for Cape Ann.
Beyond the trophy's and the medals, each participant was a winner as the Boston Bruins garnered their fair share of smiles during the tournament, which began on December 27.
"That's what we want to do as an organization," said Bruins alumnus Bob Sweeney, who served as the master of ceremonies and spoke to the B's continued involvement in growing youth hockey. "It's fun.
"I don't think it ever changes at this level," added Sweeney. "After the game is over, as long as there's hot chocolate...the kids are happy and that's what it's all about.
"Playing hockey at this age is to have fun and that's the message that we're trying to get across."
And, of course, the coaches had fun, too.
"All my boys love to play hockey," said Richard Hassell, Head Coach of the Haverhill/Pentucket Squirt AA. "I enjoyed it.
"We were actually 4-0 and it was a really good tournament. We've played here quite often and we've never won it.
"This was a special group of kids we are working with."
*And that could be said about the entire tournament roster — Congrats to everyone who participated.^BISH*
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