UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - New Hartford hockey has one state championship, won in 1997. Now, the Spartans are one win away from a second title after routing Section VI's Kenmore East 6-1 in the Division II semifinals Saturday at the Utica Aud.
Wanting to jump out quickly and force the Bulldogs to play catch-up, the No. 1-ranked Spartans scored in the first three minutes of each period and never trailed, leading 2-0 after the first period and 4-0 after the second.
New Hartford, now 27-2, will face No. 2-ranked Pelham from Section I in the Division II championship Sunday at the Aud at 12:30. Pelham, 18-10, beat No. 6 Burke Catholic from Section IX 3-2 to earn its first-ever berth in the final.
Kenmore East, ranked no. 3, ends the season 19-5-2.
The Spartans got on the board at 12:25 of the first period when Andrew Kelleher fed Jason Fitzgerald for a wrister. The lead doubled at 7:23 with a squib-shot from just inside the blue line by Patrick Ryan, assisted by Clay Whittemore.
The second period saw New Hartford's top two scorers find the back of the net with Mike Zalewski putting in his own rebound at 12:04 and Tom Fiorentino poking in a rebound for a power play goal at 9:11. Alex Fukes assisted on both goals and Ryan also assisted on the second.
Another power play goal by Fiorentino at 13:44 in the third put the Spartans up 5-0 and officially put the game out of reach. Kenmore East's lone goal was a power play score by Mark Arnone off an Andy Sturtz assist at 9:40, and Fukes finished the scoring with a goal at 2:24 off an assist from Fiorentino.
On the defensive side, Dylan Smith was once again outstanding in net with 26 saves and the Spartans' special teams only allowed one goal despite 11 penalties. Kenmore East was called for only five.
New Hartford out-shot the Bulldogs 39-27.