SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WKTV) - In a battle of the two top seeds in the Section III, Division II ice hockey playoffs, New Hartford left no doubt which is the true number one on Sunday, demolishing Corcoran 9-0 in the championship game at the War Memorial in Syracuse.
New Hartford, the top seed from the East division and ranked No. 1 in the state in Division II, scored three goals in a 57-second span in the second period to take a 3-0 lead and effectively put the game away. Junior star Mike Zalewski led the offense with four goals and an assist and goalie Dylan Smith came up huge on the defensive end with 33 saves against the Cougars, the top seed from the West division and ranked No. 10.
The sectional title is New Hartford's first since 2002 and sixth overall. The Spartans will start their state playoff run against defending state champion Webster Thomas from Section V in the regional round Saturday at SUNY Brockport at 1:30.
In a matchup of two outstanding offenses, Corcoran out-shot New Hartford 30-14 in the first two periods and 33-27 for the game and had several power play opportunities throughout, but the Spartans held off the Cougars every time and scored four shorthanded goals and three power play goals to show the range of their attack.
Corcoran's chances for a comeback were hurt late in the second period when defenseman Casey Eccles was called for checking Mike Critelli from behind. The play resulted in a scrum that left two players from each team with roughing penalties and Eccles with a four-minute major and game misconduct. Zalewski capitalized on the power play early in the third with his third goal to make it 4-0.
Clay Whittemore had two goals and an assist, Thomas Fiorentino had a goal and two assists and Jake Silberlicht and Spencer Davidson scored the final two goals, respectively. Overall, 11 different players recorded a point.
New Hartford improves to 25-2 and goes into the state playoffs on a 17-game winning streak. Corcoran ends the season 20-5.