New Hartford’s Devon Wentworth (24) battles Whitesboro’s Alex Egresits (3) in front of Warrior’s goalie Tim Evans (1), late in the game.
Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
A huge crowd packed the house to see the home standing Spartans take on the arch rival Whitesboro Warriors, in a Section III, Division II hockey match up.
The Spartans, who also played and won on New Year’s Eve, beating Mohawk Valley 6-3, came into tonight’s game sporting a record of (10-1) overall and (3-1) in the Section III National Conference, good enough for a #8 ranking among Division II teams in New York State.
Whitesboro, under first year head coach, Todd Manley, entered tonight on a nice roll. After a slow start, the Warriors had won three in a row, including a big upset of previously undefeated Auburn.
Whitesboro was alone in second place in the American Conference when the puck dropped tonight, with a league record of (2-0-2) and (3-4-2) overall.
After almost ten minutes of wathcing the two teams trade body blows, quite literally, the Spartans got on the scoreboard first.
Christian Nimey knocked a loose puck past Warrior’s goalie, Tim Evans, to make it 1-0 New Hartford, with 5:08 to go in the opening period.
Before the renowned New Hartford portable fire horn even finished its cycle from the first goal, the Spartans scored again.
Whitesboro recovered nicely and got right back into the game, when junior, Brendan Sand, beat Spartans net minder, Mike Cuchiarele, from the high slot, pulling the Warriors back within 2-1, with 1:03 to go before the first intermission.
The second period saw the physicality of the contest ramp up, especially on the Whitesboro side.
The blue shirts seemed to come out of the break looking to take the body, rather than the puck.
The Warriors second penalty of the second period proved costly. With the Warrior’s, Joseph DeMichele, in the penalty box, New Hartford’s, Tommy Mandel, converted for the Spartans, beating Evans from in close to give the Spartans a 3-1 advantage, with 12:04 to go in the middle stanza.
Cullen Moran’s Section III, Division II leading 12th goal of the season, put the Spartans up 4-1. Moran’s goal came with 8:24 remaining in the second period and included assists from Peter Rayhill and Leighton Nimey.
The two teams battled to a stalemate for the remainder of the second and all of third period, culminating in a 4-1 win for the Spartans.
Mike Cuchiarale stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced tonight, to pick up the win between the pipes. Tim Evans stopped 27 of 31 shots he faced, suffering the loss.
New Hartford, (4-1, 11-1), will continue a marathon schedule during the winter break when they travel to Syracuse for another Division II crossover game against defending NY State Division II State Champion, Jamesville-DeWitt / CBA, on Friday.
Whitesboro (2-1-2 , 3-5-2) will look to get back into the win column when they entertain Division I Fulton on Friday night at the Whitestown Community Center.
New Hartford 4 Whitesboro 1
1 2 3 Total
Whitesboro 1 0 0 1
New Hartford 2 2 0 4
Brendan Sand 1 goal
Joe DeMichele 1 assist
Christian Nimey 1 goal 1 assist
Cullen Moran 1 goal 1 assist
Tommy Mandel 1 goal 1 assist
Alex Vitagliano 1 goal
Peter Rayhill 2 assists
Devon Wentworth 2 assists
Leighton Nimey 1 assist