The Metro Fighting Moose took down a couple top teams from the Empire Junior League over the Dec. 14-16 weekend at the Connecticut Jr. Wolfpackâ€™s Northeast College Classic.
The Moose also defeated fellow Metropolitan Junior Leagueâ€™s Walpole Express, 2-1, in overtime. From the Empire League, they beat the Boston Bandits (8-7 in overtime) and the Boston Junior Bruins (3-0).
Jonathan Lazarus scored 15 of his 18 points in the last 14 games.
â€œ[Lazarus] continues to improves just needs to be a more consistent threat,â€ said head coach Craig Doremus of the â€™96-born forward. â€œHe has all the ability to be a big time player and goal-scorer.â€
Derek Caruso, a â€™95, scored nine points in the Mooseâ€™s five December games. Doremus considered him the most improved player since Day 1 of training camp.
â€œHe is coming on big time. He plays a ton of minutes and contributes in all situations,â€ said Doremus. â€œThe coaches all say â€˜He simply knows what it is to be a successful junior player.â€™â€
Forwards Paul Vella and Ryan Cheng also impressed Doremus with their play.
â€œPaul is another good player who just needs to be more consistent. He was very good for us in the [Connecticut showcase] and was physical all weekend,â€ Doremus said.
Vella led the team with 32 points at the end of 2012, while Cheng had 26 points in 21 games. He played for the Mooseâ€™s team in the former Continental Hockey Association two years ago and scored 94 points there.
â€œCheng is our second leading scorer. He returned to the Moose this year and has come on of late,â€ said Doremus. â€œHe has the skill and ability to put up monster numbers. He just needs to work hard and prepare.â€
The team also welcomed back Bryce Lewan from a short stint in the Tier-2 North American Hockey League with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays. He is nursing a shoulder injury and the team hopes to have him back in January.
â€œWe got great reports from their staff,â€ said Doremus. â€œThey were pleased with his development. He was able to dress and play a regular shift [on Dec. 1 and 7].â€
On the defensive side of the game, Sean Kacerosky (coming in from the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers of the Atlantic Junior League) has been a huge addition to the blue line corps.
â€œHe has played a lot of power play and penalty kill minutes,â€ said Doremus. â€œHe has contributed nicely offensively and has fit right into our room. He is solid defensively and can lead the rush as well.â€
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