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New Hartford ice hockey pounds Pelham for state title

By By BRIAN SANDLER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The New Hartford ice hockey team played just like the overwhelming favorite it was in the state Division II championship game Sunday at the Utica Aud, overwhelming Section I's Pelham 6-1 for its first title since 1997 and second overall.

Displaying the balance and dominance that led it to the No. 1 ranking in the state in Division II and a final record of 28-2, the Spartans out-shot the Pelicans 49-24, got their six goals from six different players and saw goalie Dylan Smith once again dominate between the pipes with 23 saves, not allowing a goal until it was already 6-0 in the second period.

After being held scoreless for most of the first period, New Hartford broke through at 10:44 when Tom Fiorentino poked in a loose puck.  Andrew Kelleher made it 2-0 just 14 seconds later and Clayton Whittemore made it 3-0 with 40 seconds left.

In the second period, Jason Fitzgerald started a three-goal outburst 2:38 in.  Standout junior forward Mike Zalewski--who was named Division II Player of the Year and confirmed he is leaving the Spartans to play junior hockey with the Syracuse Junior A's next season--scored a power play goal soon after at 4:14 and Alex Fukes added the Spartans' sixth goal on a backhanded flick at 7:46.

Pelham, ranked No. 2 in the state, got its lone goal at 13:32 from Colin Reilly.  The Pelicans finish the season 18-11.

Making the All-Tournament Team from New Hartford were forwards Fiorentino and Fukes, defensemen Ryan Patrick and Jake Silberlicht and Smith.  Zalewski was named Tournament Most Valuable Player.

Zalewski, Fiorentino, Silberlicht and Smith were also named to the All-Division II First Team.  Head coach John Cunningham was named the Division II Coach of the Year.

New Hartford outscored its six playoff opponents 36-6.

 

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