KNIGHTS SKATE TO IMPRESSIVE 7-0 WIN OVER VISITING SPARTANS
RFA’s Mike Seifert (6) races up ice with New Hartford’s Christian Nimey (19) matching strides.
The Rome Free Academy Black Knights hosted the New Hartford Spartans in a Section III Hockey divisional crossover matinée at John F. Kennedy Arena this afternoon and the home club breezed to a 7-0 victory. A very fitting venue on inauguration day.
RFA entered today’s contest with a record of (13-1) overall and sits alone at the top of the Division I standings in Section III with a league record of (9-0).
The Romans also woke up this morning ranked 3rd in the latest New York State rankings, behind only Cicero-North Syracuse and Niagara Wheatfield.
Ironically, CNS sits behind Rome Free Academy in the Section III, Division I East standings.
To make the rankings even more interesting is the fact that RFA defeated CNS by a score of 3-1 back on November 30, 2012.
Rome’s lone loss so far this season came at the hands of Massena, in overtime in the championship game of the Massena Tournament on January 12th.
New Hartford rolled into Rome this afternoon with a record of (8-3-1) in Section III, Division 2 and (8-4-1) overall.
The Spartans hold the fourth position in the D-2 standings, three points ahead of fifth place CBA-JD, which the Spartans topped by a score of 2-1 last Friday evening at the Rec Center.
The top six teams in each division make the playoffs.
Today’s Martin Luther King Day matinée saw the Spartans and Black Knights come out with bodies flying all over the place in the first period.
The first fifteen minutes of play yielded three minor penalties whistled against Rome.
Despite the key opening period advantages, the Spartans were unable to take advantage of any of the opening period power plays.
With all of the physical play going on in and around the blue lines, neither team mounted any serious scoring threats, until Michael Siefert snuck one past Spartans freshman goalie Tyler Hansen.
Keegan Richie picked up the assist on Siefert’s tally, which came with 10:51 to go in the opening frame.
RFA would take a 1-0 advantage to the first intermission. The Knights and Spartans combined for just 7 total shots on goal in the first, with Rome holding a 4-3 advantage in that department as well.
Coach Greg Cuthbertson’s Black Knights must have listened intently to whatever he had to say in the locker room between the first and second periods, even if school was not in session today. In a seven minute span in the second period, RFA netted four more goals to take a 5-0 lead.
Nick Mecca made it 2-0 Rome with an unassisted power play goal with 11:58 remaining in the second period.
Just 1:40 later, freshman J.T. Entelisano scored his first of two goals on the afternoon, banging home a loose puck in front of Hansen to make it 3-0 Black Knights with 10:18 remaining in the middle stanza.
Cameron Mecca picked up the assist on the Romans second goal.
Entelisano, a smooth skating youngster who also starred on the Rome Grizzlies Bantam team that captured the Silver Stick Regional Championship last month, notched his second goal of the game when he stuffed home a shot from in close with 4:47 left on the clock in the second period.
Cameron Mecca and Jaxon Rutkowski picked up the assists on this one.
Just forty seconds later, with the Spartans reeling and definitely sitting back on their heels, Keegan Richie joined in the scoring with a nifty goal of his own at the 4:07 mark of the middle frame.
Tyler Williams assisted on the Richie goal, which sent the Black Knights to the second intermission with a commanding 5-0 lead.
RFA goalie Andrew Ross had 3 saves in the second period, while New Hartford’s Tyler Hansen stopped 4.
Sometimes goals in the game of hockey come from hard work in the corners. Bone numbing hits in the slot that send the puck onto the stick of a waiting shooter and sometimes scores come from lapses in defensive efforts.
RFA’s sixth goal of today’s game came as a result of none of the above. No, Joey Rutkowski’s 10th goal of the season came on a hockey purist’s dream scenario.
The junior forward found himself alone with the puck just inside the Spartans blue line with 13:13 to go.
He skated in to just above the top of the face off circle and let go a laser beam of a slap shot which simply whistled past the left ear of Hansen and into the top right corner of the goal. If you blinked, you missed it, it was that hard a shot and it was that accurate.
Jeremy Bereza grabbed the assist on Rutkoswki’s gem, which made it 6-0 in favor of RFA.
Tyler Williams was credited with the Black Knights seventh and final goal, a power play tally with 4:07 to go in the game.
Rome goalies Andrew Ross and Mark Fanelli combined for a shutout on 15 saves. Tyler Hansen made 19 stops in goal for New Hartford.
With the win, RFA improved to (14-1). The Knights have a week off before they pay a visit to Central Square on 1/28.
New Hartford meanwhile drops to (8-5-1) on the season and will look to notch another D-2 win on Friday night when they travel to Morrisville for a date with Cazenovia.
Rome Free Academy 7 New Hartford 0
1 2 3 Final
New Hartford 0 0 0 0
RFA 1 4 2 7