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Orleans Express captures 2015 Jr. A Elite title

WALPOLE – The 2015 Chowder Cup has come to a close, finishing out on Sunday at Rodman Arena in Walpole as Orleans Express defeated Hockey Essentials White, 4-3, to win the Jr. A Elite division’s top prize.

After being nicked in the 2014 Jr. A Elite championship game, the Express earned their shot at redemption by posting perfect 3-0 records in both opening round play and then the three playoff games leading up to Sunday’s finale. They then made the best of that opportunity as they stormed out to a 3-1 lead early in the contest.

In shades of last year’s loss, Orleans saw their lead slip away as Essentials rallied for a pair, goals from Ruslan Rahkmatov and Andrew Barber to tie the game at 3-3 just after the game’s midpoint. Unlike 2014, however, this time around had a more storybook ending.

With just over five minutes remaining in the tournament, the tie was broken on an Andrew Rinaldi championship winner at 24:51, the score set to its 4-3 final.

Andrew Rinaldi may have scored the tournament winner, but with a tournament-high seven points on Sunday – five goals, two assists – Anthony Rinaldi was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Joining Rinaldi in receiving All-Tournament honors were teammate Roberto Cellini and Jordan Kaplan and Corey Kennedy of Hockey Essentials, selected as forwards for the All-Tournament team. Express’ Yanni Kaldis and Essentials’ Mike Ufberg were selected as the All-Tournament defensive pair and Jeremy Brodeur of Orleans was selected as the All-Tournament goaltender.