MORRISVILLE, N.Y. (WKTV) - The first time the New Hartford and Cazenovia ice hockey teams played this season, New Hartford won 6-3 to earn the No. 1 ranking in the state in Division II. In their second meeting Tuesday at the Morrisville IcePlex, the Spartans again won 6-3, this time earning the outright Division II East title and the division's top seed in the Section III, Division II playoffs.
The game started with a goalie showcase between New Hartford's Dylan Smith and Cazenovia's J.R. Vecchiarelli, with both making multiple impressive saves over the first eight minutes.
Then the offenses got going.
New Hartford started the scoring with 6:39 left in the first period on a goal by Clayton Whittemore. Cazenovia answered 1:10 later on a put-back score by Sean Dougherty. New Hartford then exploded for three goals in 59 seconds late in the period to take the lead for good, with Spencer Davidson, Jason Fitzgerald and Mike Zalewski tallying for a 4-1 lead. Cazenovia got one back 32 seconds later on a goal by Sam Lewis to make it 4-2 after one, but Whittemore made it 5-2 early in the second and the defense killed four Cazenovia power plays in the period to thwart any chance of a rally.
The victory gives the Spartans, still ranked No. 1, a final regular-season record of 21-2 overall and 14-0 in league play. While the playoff brackets will not officially be released until Sunday evening, New Hartford is set to host Cortland-Homer, the No. 4 seed in Division II West, in the first round on Friday, February 20th at 6:30 p.m.
Cazenovia, ranked No. 3 in the state, is now 18-2-1 overall and finishes league play 12-2, earning the No. 2 seed in the East.