CHESTERFIELD, VA. - The Atlantic Junior Hockey League (AJHL) has announced that New Jersey Rockets forward Jeremy Bracco (top right) and Walpole Express forward David Goff (top left), Rockets defenseman Max Gottlieb (bottom left) and Express goaltender Kyle Shapiro have been named the co-Offensive, Defensive and Goaltender of the Week, respectively, for the week ending Nov. 18.
Bracco, from Freeport, N.Y., struck for four goals and five assists as the Rockets fashioned a 3-1 record. On Thursday, the 1997-born connected for a pair of goals and two assists in a 7-6 loss to the New York Bobcats. The next night, Bracco notched another goal as the Rockets downed the Washington Jr. Nationals, 3-2. After picking up an assist in an 8-2 victory over the Laconia Leafs on Saturday, the 5-foot-10, 145-pounder tallied another goal and two more assists, including one on forward Brook Lewis’ game-winning marker, as the Rockets downed the Leafs the next day, 6-2.
“Jeremy was an offensive catalyst all weekend,” said Rockets head coach Bob Thornton. “He saw ice time in all situations and made great decisions with the puck at every touch. He’s such a gifted player with a bright future ahead of him.”
Goff, a Gulf Port, Fla., native, rang up three goals and five assists as the Express also forged a 3-1 record. On Tuesday, the 1992-born picked up a goal and assisted on forward Collin O’Neil’s game-winning marker in a 4-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. After being held scoreless the next night - a 3-0 loss to the Knights - the 5-foot-10, 176-pounder connected for two more goals and a pair of assists, including one on another O’Neil game-winner, as the Express downed the Philadelphia Little Flyers on Saturday, 6-4. The next day, Goff connected for two more helpers, including one on forward Tyler Colacchio’s game-winning goal, in a 2-1 triumph over the Little Flyers.
“David has a strong commitment to playing hard on both sides of the puck,” Express head coach Mark Kumpel said of his team’s captain. “He’s also very diligent with his off-ice regime, both in the classroom and at the gym. With very few returning players, he leads by example on the ice and takes charge of situations off it, which have been keys to our success.”
Gottlieb, an Old Bridge, N.J., native, came through with two goals and four assists in the Rockets’ four games. In the loss to the Bobcats, the 1995-born struck for a pair of goals. Against the Jr. Nationals, Gottlieb assisted on forward Sam Bloom’s game-winning marker. The 6-foot, 186-pounder registered three more assists in New Jersey’s two-game sweep over Laconia, including one on Lewis’ game-winning goal on Sunday.
“Max was a vital part of our power play last weekend,” said Thornton. “The power play was able to take advantage of its opportunities and generated many quality scoring chances, and Max made good reads and decisions and used his big point shot to his advantage."
Shapiro, from Ocean, N.J., backstopped the Express to a pair of victories in his two starts, turning aside 59 of 61 shots. On Tuesday, the 1993-born made 28 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Knights. Five days later, the 6-foot, 167-pounder stopped 33 shots as the Express bested the Philadelphia Little Flyers, 2-1.
“Kyle’s ability to deliver quality goaltending has been paramount to our team’s success this year,” said Kumpel. “He’s calm and positionally correct which rarely forces him to have to make the acrobatic save, which he’s proven more than capable of when he has to.”
OFFENSIVE: Bobcats forwards Pat Schule and J.D. Rassett; Philadelphia Jr. Flyers forwards Jamie Lukas and Jonathan Ruiz; Rockets forward Brooks Lewis; Express forward Collin O’Neil
DEFENSIVE: Jr. Flyers defenseman Jim Le Noir; Express defenseman Krists Kalnins; Rockets defenseman Will Campion
GOALTENDER: New York’s David Lynch; the Jr. Flyers' Scott Brown; the Rockets’ Randy Gorda
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012-13, the AJHL, a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior A league boasting 12 teams from seven states, prides itself on the social maturity and skill development of student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey.