SPARTANS OUTDUEL WARRIORS-3-0 FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE HOCKEY WIN
Whitesboro’s Rocco DeRollo (7) battles New Hartford’s Kyle Cronin (8) along the boards.
Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
The New Hartford Spartans hockey team earned their third victory in as many games tonight at the Rec Center, defeating arch rival Whitesboro by a score of 5-4.
The win puts the Spartans in an early season tie atop the Section III, Division II hockey standings alongside Skaneateles (3-0), who defeated CBA/JD 3-1 this evening.
The Spartans continued their recent trend of spreading the wealth around offensively, as 9 different players contributed with goals and/or assists tonight.
Senior Captain Greyden Nimey led the way with two goals and earned the Monster Energy Drink Player of The Game Award.
It was Whitesboro who got things going early on tonight as Kirk Chevier scored the first of his two goals at the 12:19 mark of the back and forth first period.
Chevier beat Spartans goalie Mike Cuchiarale after knocking home a bouncing puck in the crease, quieting the big home crowd right out of the box.
Chevier’s first period goal was a huge lift for the Warriors, who came into tonight’s game with an (0-2) start, including a lop sided 8-0 loss to Skaneateles last Friday on their home ice.
Before the Warriors faithful in attendance had time to finish celebrating, just :23 seconds later New Hartford’s Grant Romeo settled them right back down with a low wrist shot that beat W’boro starting goalie Tyler Garcia, tying the score at 1-1.
Romeo’s shot seemed to confuse Garcia, who looked to have a clean view of the shooter. Tommy Mandel picked up the assist on Romeo’s score.
The fast paced first period showed no signs of slowing down, as both teams obviously recognized the importance of this early season D-2 match up.
Just :45 seconds after assisting on Romeo’s tying tally, Tom Mandel grinded out a goal of his own with 11:11 to go in the opening period, beating Garcia for the second time on five shots to make it 2-1 Spartans.
Mike Rich assisted on Mandel’s tie breaking goal.
The Warriors tied the game with a power play goal with 8:08 to go in the first stanza, when senior captain Geoff Webb took a pass from teammate Justin White and beat Cuchiarale for knot things up at 2-2.
The next eight minutes of the opening period were as tenacious and physical on the part of both teams as we’ve seen in a high school hockey game in quite some time.
With bodies flying, plexiglass wobbling and snow flying, Derek Bard scored his second goal of the season with 1:08 to go in the first period to give his team a 3-2 lead, which the Spartans would carry to the first intermission.
Between periods, Whitesboro assistant coach Todd Manley told MHTS and ESPN Radio 99.1 FM that overall he was impressed with the intensity that the Warriors were showing early and that it was certainly a far cry from the effort put forth in their last contest.
The second period saw the Spartans increase their lead to 4-2 when Greyden Nimey scored a power play goal for the home team at the 6:08 mark of the middle frame.
This goal seemed to deflate the visitors, who spent the next several minutes frantically trying to keep the slot clean in front of Joe Tartaglia, who replaced Tyler Garcia in-goal for Whitesboro after the first period.
Despite the several minutes of frantic defensive hockey the Warriors got a big boost from Cody Stewart who netted a power play goal for Whitesboro at the 1:20 mark of the second period, to pull the Warriors to within 4-3, which is the way we’d go to the second break.
The Warrior’s power play and resultant goal came when Spartans Goalie Mike Cuchiarele was penalized for hitting Warriors forward Jack Mercurio from behind in the crease.
New Hartford held a 31-16 advantage in shots on goal after two periods of play.
Spartans head coach John Carson Cunningham took a moment to speak with MHTS after the second period and said that the challenge for his team was to stay away from playing a Helter Skelter style hockey and that his young Spartans needed to get back to passing the puck and sticking with their game plan in the third period.
Coach Cunningham’s message between periods was obviously heard loud and clear by his team as the Spartans dominated the final period, out shooting the Warriors 12-3.
Greyden Nimey tallied his second goal of the game, with 12:24 to go, giving his team a 5-3 lead.
Justin Rockewell picked up the assist on the Spartans 5th goal, which would end up being the game winner.
Kirk Chevier’s second goal of the game, a pretty backhander past Cuchiarele, came with 3:00 minutes to go to make it 5-4.
The Warriors pulled their goalie during a power play in the final minute of the game, but the 6 on 4 advantage just wasn’t enough to turn the tide and the Spartans got the big rivalry game win by a score of 5-4.
The loss drops Whitesboro to (0-3) in the league and the win raises New Hartford to (3-0).
Joe Tartaglia and Tyler Garcia combined for 38 saves in the game, while Mike Cuchiarale stopped 15 of the 19 shots he faced between the pipes for New Hartford.
The undefeated Spartans will travel to CBA this Friday night for a date with the Brothers. Whitesboro will look to get one in the win column when they head West to Auburn to face the Maroon on Friday night.
New Hartford 5 Whitesboro 4
1 2 3 Total
Whitesboro 2 1 1 4
New Hartford 3 1 1 5