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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: NYSAHA - Championship - Westchester 5, New Hartford 4

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Monday, March 17, 2008

NYSAHA - Championship - Westchester 5, New Hartford 4

Vipers take U16 midget New York State crown

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The New Hartford Tier II 16U ice hockey team finally found someone that could keep up with its red, white and blue skaters and the Westchester Vipers squad responded time and again, skating its way to a New York State Amateur Hockey Association state title on the Olympic surface at the Weibel Avenue Rink in Saratoga Springs.

New Hartford put on a power play clinic against the Vipers, but the Westchester squad rebounded from each penalty kill shift with a goal, earning a 5-4 state championship victory and earned a berth in the USA Hockey National tournament April 2 to 6 in Buffalo.

Throughout the tournament, New Hartford was able to out-skate its competitors in the final two periods, putting all four away before the championship final. Westchester became the exception.

“They skated with us and they had stick and overall hockey skills,” New Hartford coach James Zalewski said. “That made it tougher.”

Westchester was struggling generating any offense from inside the slot early on, but seconds after Scott Miele was denied on the Vipers lone breakaway early in the first period he put back a rebound past New Hartford goalie Dylan Smith at 5:15 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.

The New Hartford power play unit, teammates throughout most of the year at the high school and travel level, was the envy of the tournament, leading to the tying goal early in the second period.

New Hartford spent the majority of a power play in the Vipers end cycling the puck and keeping the Westchester defenders at bay.

As the penalty expired, forward Michael Zalewski slid the puck cross ice, between defenders to an awaiting Nathan Mallinder who snapped it past Viper goalie Ryan Feliu at 6:56.

The tie was short lived as Viper forward Robert Dorgan wristed in the puck past New Hartford netminder Dylan Smith at 6:49 taking back the lead, 2-1.

Westchester's Christopher Abramo put the Vipers up 3-1 when he wristed in the puck 30 seconds after his squad negated another New Hartford power play at 14:28 of the second period.

“It was important to make sure we came back,” Westchester coach Mark Pecchia said. “We needed to get the next opportunity to score and put the pressure on the other team.”

New Hartford responded again, cutting the lead to a single goal again when Thomas Frorentino tipped in a shot, deflecting it under the crossbar during a 4-on-4 at 16:52, 3-2.

The red, white and blue jerseys would tie the contest for the second time when Thomas Frorentino deposited the puck over Westchester goalie Ryan Feliu's shoulder at 6:04 of the third at three apiece.

Westchester's skating speed gained it another goal when Christopher Mastrocola flicked the puck in at 9:13 for the 4-3 lead. The Vipers would take another two-goal lead when Sherding was on the receiving end of a quick pass from behind the net from Christopher Abramo with two minutes left in the finale.

New Hartford refused to hoist the runner-up trophy lightly, continuing to apply the pressure with 95 seconds left when Jason Fitzgerald put back rebounds created by Nathan Mallinder and Jacob Silberlicht.

New Hartford pulled goaltender Dylan Smith for a man-advantage, but couldn’t send the title game into overtime. Both teams qualified for the national tournament, but Westchester will travel with the state championship banner.

“This was everything for me,” Zalewski said. “This was the prize.

“I’m disappointed things didn’t go our way,” Zalewski said. “But I’m not disappointed in our players.”

Westchester applied its skills in all three periods, taking advantage of its guaranteed position in Buffalo next month.

“We felt easier coming in, not as nervous as we were in the last game (semifinal),” Pecchia said. “We were loser and had a better start.

The Vipers looked to their captain, Aidan McHugh before the final for inspiration.
“We were all ecstatic that we were going to nationals,” Aidan McHugh said. “We didn’t want to go as the runner-up. I told them to prove that you are there to compete and are there to play.”

First period scoring:
1. Westchester, Scott Miele (Bradlee Pesce, Matthew Oliverio), 5:15.
Penalties: Westchester – Aidan McHugh (interference), 6:18. New Hartford – Robert Jorgensen (hooking), 10:10.

Second period: 2. New Hartford, Nathan Mallinder (Jacob Silberlicht, Michael Zalewski), 6:56. 3. Westchester, Robert Dorgan (RyanMcGee), 6:49. 4. Westchester, Christopher Abramo (Robert Dorgan), 14:28. 5. New Hartford, Thomas Frorentino (Jacob Silberlicht, Michael Zalewski), 16:52.
Penalties: Westchester – Alex Lopez (tripping), 1:51; Aidan McHugh (tripping), 11:59; Aidan McHugh , (tripping), 15:52. New Hartford – Jason Fitzgerald (tripping), 6:58; Jason Fitzgerald, (hooking), 16:15.

Third period: 6. New Hartford, Thomas Frorentino (Michael Zalewski), 7:04. 7. Westchester, Christopher Mastrocola (Rene Kovac, Alex Lopez), 9:13. 8. Westchester, Ron Sherding (Christopher Abramo), 15:04. 9. New Hartford, Jason Fitzgerald (Nathan Mallinder, Jacob Silberlicht), 15:25.
Penalties: Westchester – Ron Sherding (crosschecking), 10:13; Christopher Mastrocola (interference), 11:42. New Hartford – Thomas Frorentino (high stick), 10:55.

New Hartford 0 2 2 – 4
Westchester 1 2 2 – 5
Goalie saves: New Hartford,
Dylan Smith, 17, saves. Westchester, Dan Feliu, 31 saves.

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