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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: NYSAHA - semi - New Hartford 8, Long Island 1

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.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

NYSAHA - semi - New Hartford 8, Long Island 1

New Hartford advances to state final, earns spot in nationals

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The New Hartford’s 16U midget Tier II ice hockey team proved that it could win convincingly with its special teams play and punched their ticket to the USA Hockey National Championships with an 8-1 win over the Long Island Rebels Sunday morning in the first semifinal at the Weibel Avenue Rink in Saratoga Springs.

The New Hartford squad scored three goals short-handed and a fourth from its power play unit, proving that the New Hartford High School unit was the toast of the tournament.

The Central New York squad even played from behind as Long Island’s Dakota Davidson put back a rebound from Andy Koniuch's shot at 5:38 of the first period.

New Hartford didn’t need any special teams play to knot the contest at 1-1 as Michael Critelli put the puck past Long Island's screened goaltender, Joseph Eppedio at 5:46 of the second period to knot the semifinal at one apiece. Critelli took a pass from Jacob Silberlicht and soft-tossed it on net, finding its way past the Rebel netminder.

“I knew I had to go back to the net,” Michael Critelli said. “Jacob (Silberlicht) shot it and I just tipped it in. It was a big momentum change.”

The Rebels would find itself at a disadvantage on the scoreboard after having the advantage on the ice when New Hartford scored three consecutive short-handed goals.
Down a skater late in the second, Jacob Silberlicht sent the puck up and off the board, onto the stick of Clayton Whittemore who wristed the puck past Eppedio at 14:44.

“I knew we were going to ice it,” Clayton Whittemore said. “Jake (Silberlicht) was there and I was going to net for the rebound. I just happened to be there.”

New Hartford used the same formula again at 15:35 when Michael Zalewski bounced the puck of the sideboard again to Nathan Mallinder. He skated in and beat Eppedio on his stick side for the 3-1 lead.

Long Island would open the third period with a two-minute man-advantage, but once again came out on the short end of things when Jason Fitzgerald scored the squad's third consecutive short-handed goal of the contest at 1:42 of the third period for a commanding 4-1 lead.

“When we skate with less players these guys use their skill and speed to move around more and take advantage of it,” New Hartford coach Jim Zalewski said. “When 91 (Clayton Whittemore) looped around and the forward hit him on the blue line, that was a great play.”

The special teams play had its desired effect, increasing the lead and demoralizing the Long Island squad.

“Giving up three short-handed goals was pretty embarrassing,” Rebel assistant coach Ed Shinnick said. “We didn’t get to loose puck, got beat and our power play wasn’t able to produce.”

New Hartford then proved that it could score with a man-advantage when Michael Zalewski wristed in a power play goal at 3:18 of the third for a 5-1 lead. Michael Crittelli, Nathan Mallinder and Whittemore each added goals late in the final period for the 8-1 final.

New Hartford would finally play its way into a state championship game, an opportunity denied to the Spartan High School team that was eliminated from the Section III Division II ice hockey tournament by eventual champion Skaneateles in the first round.

“It’s a way to redeem ourselves and get ready for next high school season,” Whittemore said.

First period scoring:
1. Long Island, Dakota Davidson (Andy Koniuch), 5:38.
Penalties: None.

Second period scoring: 2. New Hartford, Michael Critelli (Jacob Silberlicht), 5:49. 3. New Hartford, Clayton Whittemore (Jacob Silberlicht, Ryan Gros), 14:46, shg. 4. New Hartford, Nathan Mallinder (Micahael Zalewski), 15:35, shg.
Penalties: New Hartford – Jason Fitzgerald (interference), 2:50; Michael Zalewski (interference), 6:46; Jason Fitzgerald (tripping), 7:50; Michael Zalewski (slashing), 10:18; Daniel Sheets (hooking), 14:18; Nathan Mallinder (hooking), 15:44; Jacob Silberlicht (contact to head), 17:00. Long Island – Nicholas Souza (hooking), 1:14; Patrick Omlor (interference), 2:50; Korey Hendrickson (tripping), 7:04; Korey Hendrickson (tripping), 10:26.

Third period scoring: 5. New Hartford, Jason Fitzgerald (unassisted), 1:42, ppg. 6. New Hartford, Michael Zalewski (Thomas Frorentino), 3:18, ppg. 7. New Hartford, Michael Critellil (unassisted), 4:03. 8. New Hartford, Nathan Mallinder (unassisted), 10:17. 9. New Hartford, Clayton Whittemore (Nathan Mallinder, Jacob Silberlicht), 13:23.
Penalties: New Hartford – Clayton Whittemore (roughing), 2:23; Daniel Sheets (delay of game), 5:25; Michael Critelli (delay of game), 7:57; Jason Fitzgerald (delay of game), 11:18; Daniel Sheets (roughing), 16:38. Long Island – Nicholas Souza (roughing), 2:23; Joseph Eppedio (roughing), 2:23; John Rossi (delay of game), 5:25; Ed Shinnick (tripping), 6:25; Dakota Davidson (tripping), 6:05; Nicholas Souza (cross checking), 7:57; Korey Hendrickson (tripping), 9:14; John Rossi (delay of game), 9:31; Nicholas Souza (roughing), 11:18.

New Hartford 0 3 5 – 8
Long Island 1 0 0 – 1
Goalie saves: New Hartford –
Ryan Lewis, 28 saves. Long Island, Joseph Eppedio, 26 saves.

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