|‘01 Elite Flames Finish Undefeated Season with 2013 EHF Championships |
MARLBORO, MA--As the puck rolled down the ice into the empty net with 4.6 seconds remaining on the clock, the 2001 Elite Minuteman Flames cemented one of the most incredible seasons in recent memory. With the 5-3 win over league-rival, the #5 U. S. ranked South Shore Kings, the Flames had won the EHF Playoffs and finished the season with an overall record of 68-0-6, and a league record of 44-0-2. The magical season included four major tournament victories, the Downtown Showdown Super Series, Detroit Warrior Invitational (repeat Champions), International Silver Stick Tournament in Whitby, Ont., and the EHF President’s Day Tournament (three-peat Champions).
“We knew the toughest game of the year would be the last game. The kids, as always, were very loose in the locker room,” Head Coach Mike Moore said after the game. “They like to go ‘around the horn’ and coach themselves before games, and that’s what we did before the final,” said Moore. “Each individual spoke about what they would do to help their teammates. It was impressive to listen to them review all they have learned over the years.”
Six months, nine days, and seventy-four games earlier the 2001 Flames Elites began their season with back-to-back wins against the NJ Colonials, and South Shore Kings. This was an impressive start given that they played the #6 U. S. ranked Colonials in Marlborough at 10:40 am, got off the ice at noon, and raced to Foxboro to play the #5 U. S. ranked South Shore Kings at 2:40 pm. This would prove to be a good omen for the team, and a telling example of their will and dedication.
In late September, the club travelled to Stamford, CT to play in the Downtown Showdown Super Series, where they played the #2 #4, #5, and #7 ranked teams in the US, as well as the #2 ranked Canadian team; the Toronto Marlboros. The team won the Super Series, going 4-0-2. The highlight of this tournament was a 7-0 win over Chicago Mission, the #2 team in the US.
October brought the opportunity for the Flames to play some of the top teams from the US and Canada in the Detroit Warrior Invitational. The Flames went a perfect 6-0, defeating the Clarington Toros, the #6 ranked Mississauga Reps, the #10 ranked Belle Tire, the Cleveland Barons, the #12 ranked Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, and the #5 ranked Whitby Wildcats in the championship game. The Flames came from a 3-1 deficit with six minutes to go to win the championship game in double overtime with just seconds remaining on the clock.
The Flames travelled to Whitby, Ontario in November for their first “checking” tournament of the year. The team came out flying in the opening game with a 7-2 victory over the Hamilton Huskies. Subsequent wins against the North Bay Trappers, the #9 ranked Toronto Jr. Canadiens, and the #6 ranked Mississauga Reps catapulted the Flames into the semi-finals against #3 Little Caesars. This game was a rematch of the 2010-11 finals, in which the Little Caesar’s emerged victorious with a 4-3 OT heartbreaker. Determined to avenge the loss, the Flames came out focused and defeated their Michigan rivals 2-0 to set up a final with the #1 Canadian ranked London Jr. Knights. In a very physical championship game, which featured the #1 US team vs. the #1 Canadian team, the Flames outskated the frustrated Knights for a 4-1 victory.
After three travel-tournaments, the Flames were finally the home-team for the EHF President’s Day Tournament, playing in a bracket that featured ten top-twenty US teams. With wins over #11 LA Jr. Kings, #17 Mercer Chiefs, #6 NJ Colonials, #13 East Coast Express, and #12 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, the Flames topped the #4 Mid-Fairfield Yankees in the championship game, 3-1, to win their 3rd straight EHF President’s Day Tournament.
A successful last month of the regular season had the Flames finish first in their division, with a record of 39-0-2. The Flames then went 5-0 in the playoffs, scoring 28 goals, and allowing only 11.
Undefeated seasons are special at any level. It is just short of miraculous for 12 year old boys to compete at such a high level for a 6-month span, with mounting pressure, facing 8 of the top ten teams in the US – four of them multiple times— and facing five of the top ten Canadian teams. 68-0-6 is a remarkable feat. Perhaps the best youth hockey record in a long time, especially considering the competition. The team finished the season the way it began; dedicated to winning through great teamwork, effort and passion for the sport of hockey.
The Team consists of Liam Connors, Colby Bailey, Braden Doyle, Robby Griffin, Henry Thrun, Jake Hughes, Ian Moore, Patrick Moynihan, Sean Farrell, Joe Sharib, Aidan Kelly, Von Mabbs, Tyler Young, Jacob Banks and Ryan Decker. On-ice coaches include Mike Moore, Tom Connors, David Thrun, Keith Hughes, Scott Young and Tim Doyle. Dry-land training is run by Bill Farrell and Jim Bailey;, and Deb Thrun is the team Manager.
“We’re proud of the fact we have developed this team from the very beginning. At least nine of the kids have been with us since Mites, and new players from other leagues have quickly adapted to the team chemistry. Skating, hockey sense and quick puck movement— along with hard work at every practice— have been the focal points of the coaching staff from the very beginning,” stated head Coach Mike Moore. “We encourage creativity and puck possession. The kids are truly brothers, and the parents have bought in to our philosophy with tremendous faith, which focuses on the merits of unselfish play and great sportsmanship.”