Hartford’s Minor FireAnts Qualify for AIHL Playoffs

The Minor FireAnts, the development inline roller hockey team for the Hartford FireAnts, have qualified for the American Inline Hockey League Minor Playoffs. The Minor FireAnts compete in the Northeast Division of the 33-team league that stretches from Rhode Island to Southern California.
Led by team scoring leaders Nick Harris and Patrick Harris, with 16 and 14 points respectively, and team Captain Ben Peterson with 15 points, the Minor FireAnts struggled through a tough 24 game season.
Goaltenders Brian Watson, Josh Berrelli (Southwick) and Craig Colp protected between the pipes and faced a total of 464 shots combined for the season.
The American Inline Hockey League plays hockey on wheeled skates with a puck on a deck surface instead of ice. All of the league teams carry an Elite squad of players and a minor team of two of younger players being developed for the Elite team. Minor league players can be as young as 16 while the Elite players have to be at least 18 years of age.
The Elite and Minor FireAnts are guided by second year Head Coach Roger Levesque and first year Assistant Coach Mark St. Jean. Also helping teach the young players is Michael Berry who has played goaltender on the team for six years and this season moved behind the bench. Berry comments “this year’s team was a good mix of veteran and rookie players for the minors.  We definitely struggled here and there but the main goal was to make the playoffs. There we hope to surprise some teams that may underestimate us.”
This season’s Northeast Division teams consisted of the Rhode Island Insanity, the Long Island 495ers, the New York Terror, the New Jersey Surge and the FireAnts.
The Minor FireAnts are seeded fourth and will take on the division winner the weekend of April 22. That team has not been determined as other teams have not finished their regular season. Should the FireAnts win the divisional playoffs and claim the Northeast trophy, they would travel to Anaheim California for the League finals with the winners of the Mid-Atlantic, Colonial, Great Lakes, Pacific North (California), Pacific South (California) and Southwest Divisions. Last year’s Minor League Champion was the Long Island 495ers.
More information on the AIHL can be found at the league website.

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