The Maksymum Stars U 16AAA hockey team, formed in a partnership between Rochester Youth Hockey and Maksymum Hockey, won the Eastern Junior Elite Prospect League Championship this weekend in Hookset, NH
The Stars, coached by Dave Maksymiu and Jared Blank, finished the regular season with a record of 14-3-3 to earn a three seed in the EJEPL Playoffs. In the preliminary round, the Stars went undefeated, winning three games by a combined score of 19-8.
In the opening game, the Stars defeated the Islanders Hockey Club 9-3, led by three goals from Austin Pieniaszek and two from Chris Peters. Matt Buchbinder started off the scoring with a strong rush from his defensive position.
The second game saw the Stars beat New York Apple Core 5-1. Chris Vella scored two goals and Nick Pulli chipped in two assists to lead the scoring. The Stars then battled the Connecticut Oilers in their final preliminary game, a back-and-forth contest that ended in a 5-4 victory for the Stars. Jimmy Pelton scored two goals to lead the Stars attack.
In the semifinals, the Stars faced a physical Boston Junior Bruins squad. Behind stellar goaltending from Shane Fuller, physical play from Jake Schultz, and a staunch defensive effort led by Kevin O'Brien, Liam Flaherty, and Jared Kachaylo, the Stars prevailed 1-0 on a goal by Joey Saraceni. Fuller made 21 saves to earn the shutout.
The finals saw a rematch with the swift skating Oilers, with the Stars prevailing 5-4. Saraceni scored the fourth and fifth goals to give the Stars the winning margin. Tyler Cavalier added two goals and Austin Guyett added one to round out the scoring. Zach Nowak contributed strong forechecking and chipped in an assist. Saraceni was named the Playoff MVP.
The team will now prepare for the New York State Championship Tournament, being held March 15-17 in Amherst, NY.
Members of the team are: Liam Flaherty and Kevin O'Brien (Victor), Matt Buchbinder and Chris Peters (Fairport), Ritchie Francis and Joey Saraceni (Batavia), Matt Damelio and Tyler Cavalier (Webster), Austin Guyett and Jake Schultz (Greece), Chris Vella and Austin Pieniaszek (Hilton), Shane Fuller and Nick Pulli (McQuaid), Monty Cunningham (Pittsford), Jared Kachaylo (Penfield), Zach Nowak (Brockport) and Jimmy Pelton (West Genesee).