IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE HOCKEY SEASON-NEW HARTFORD YOUTH HOCKEY TOURNEY UNDERWAY!
And they’re off..New Hartford’s William Hilton (16) and Whitestown’s Drew Manley (9) Open Up The Season.
Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
I can remember a time not so long ago, when each November local high school hockey teams would get together for a weekend classic at the Utica Auditorium, which kicked off the season each year.
It was a chance for the local players to get their respective skates wet and size up the local competition. It also gave local hockey fans a nice way to see early season hockey at a really nice venue.
Speaking for the guys at My Hometown Sports and ESPN Radio Utica-Rome, we sure liked it too.
Due to the NYSPHAA shortening the season for virtually every high school sports season, to accommodate statewide playoffs, the Thanksgiving Hockey Tournament here in Utica has unfortunately gone by the wayside.
Fortunately, the New Hartford Youth Hockey Association is doing something this weekend to help fill the void, albeit on a much younger scale!
The New Hartford Recreation Center will once again play host to the NHYHA Travel Hockey Tournament for the “Squirt” and “Pee Wee” Divisions.
The Squirt Division will feature teams from Whitestown, Oswego, Adirondack and New Hartford.
The Pee Wee Division will play host to teams from New Hartford, Whitestown, New England and Rochester.
Play began this evening in both divisions and will continue thru Sunday morning, when champions in both divisions will be crowned.
The first game on the tournament card featured a familiar battle of State Route 840 foes, the Spartans of New Hartford and the Wolfpack of Whitestown.
Reminiscent of the old high school Thanksgiving classic, and definitely a pre-cursor to a month or so from now when the Spartans and Warriors get together during the high school season.
High School teams can start practicing on Monday, November 12th.
Tonight though, the Wolfpack and Spartans squirt teams hit the ice like a swarm of bees on a flower bed and the action was fast furious from the get go.
The first period saw the Wolfpack open up a one goal advantage with 4:55 to go, when Noah Scranton poked home a rebound past New Hartford goalie Robert Shafer and the blue team was up 1-0.
Whitestown would go on to keep the one goal advantage into the first intermission.
The young Spartans answered the bell in the second period however, when Logan Kraft, a key returner from last year’s New Hartford team that won the Central Section title and competed in the State Tournament, tallied twice and led his team back to a 2-1 advantage.
The Wolfpack’s smooth skating Drew Manley tied the game at 2-2 with just 41 seconds remaining in the middle stanza,and the teams went to the second intermission knotted at two apiece.
Whitestown took the lead for good 6:10 into the third period when Joseph Bono lit the lamp for the Wolfpack to make it 3-2.
Despite some serious hustle and scoring opportunities by both teams, it was the goalies that won the last six minutes of the game and Whitestown went on to take the opening game in pool play.
New Hartford (0-1) will return to action on Saturday when they take on Adirondack at 7:00 a.m., while Whitestown (1-0) will take on Oswego at 9:30 a.m. the same day.
Robert Shafer stopped 15 shots for New Hartford tonight,and Cameron Emery made 14 saves for the Wolfpack.
Congrats to both clubs on a fine faceoff to the season!