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Spartans get convincing home playoff hockey win

Steve Jones
Sports writer
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Posted 2/15/23

The playoffs started with a bang for the New Hartford boys hockey team as the Spartans scored 27 seconds into their 6-2 home win over Oswego in the opening round of the Division II Wednesday.

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Spartans get convincing home playoff hockey win


NEW HARTFORD — The playoffs started with a bang for the New Hartford boys hockey team as the Spartans scored 27 seconds into their 6-2 home win over Oswego in the opening round of the Division II Wednesday.

The Spartans had defeated the Buccaneers both times in the regular season, 4-2 on Dec. 5 on the road and 4-3 at home on Jan. 11. "We played Oswego very tight this year," said New Hartford head coach Justin Schachtler after the win. It was a matter of "who makes the play at certain moments. Fortunately we were the ones to make the plays tonight."

New Hartford did most of the damage in the first period, scoring three of the four goals and building a lead Oswego had a hard time challenging all night.

Charles Gaetano tallied the Spartans’ first and third goals. On the game’s first shift, he grabbed a loose puck behind the Oswego net and sent a wraparound attempt to the far post and in to make it 1-0 just 27 seconds into the contest. An assist went to Anthony Falvo.

Schachtler said the coaches' message to team going in was: "We have to get off to a good start." Mission accomplished.

Oswego tied the game almost immediately when Ian Cady equalized 54 seconds later. He lifted the puck over the left leg of New Hartford goalie Michael Vetter from point blank range on an assist from Brayden Miller.

Falvo got the lead back for New Hartford with just under 12 minutes left in the period. Derek Defazio sent a long point shot through traffic. It was saved by Oswego goalie Riley Wallace but the puck stayed in the crease until Falvo tapped it over the line.

Gaetano scored his second of the period with 4:14 left, securing another rebound and firing it home from a sharp angle near the goal line. Chad Hull earned an assist.

The Spartans stretched the lead to three with the lone goal of the middle frame. While on the power play, Gaetano hit Gavin Lapolla cutting to the net and he redirected it in from close range. Gaetano and Rowan Gall were credited with assists.

Oswego cut the lead to two just over four minutes into the third but that would be as close as the Buccaneers would get. Miller sent a wrist shot from the left circle at Vetter, who couldn't quite snap the leg pads together fast enough and the puck squirted through and into the net. Assists went to Mason Naumann and Riley Wood.

New Hartford added a pair of insurance goals after that. Two minutes after Miller's goal, Lapolla scored his second of the game by corralling a rebound off a long shot from the point where it sat in the crease. He pushed it across the line to make it 5-2. Collecting assists were Defazio and Falvo.

Sean Elbrecht converted another rebound for New Hartford when the initial shot was saved but a pileup in front of the net left Wallace down and out. Elbrecht sent a shot into the wide open net from between the circles. Hull and Gabe Syrotynski had assists.

Vetter made 20 saves in the win. Wallace stopped 33 shots in the loss.

Schachtler said the team was initially a little "mesmerized" by the speed of Cady and Miller but worked to negate that by getting the puck low in the zone to grind away with more physicality. He said he was especially pleased with the performance of Gall, a senior defenseman named this week as a Division II second team all-star. "He played exceptionally well tonight."

The six-seeded Spartans, now 10-10-1, turn right around and play at third seed Christian Brothers Academy/Jamesville-DeWitt (13-7) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Onondaga Nation Arena. In the regular season, CBA won 6-5 at New Hartford on Dec. 14 then New Hartford won 3-2 on the road Jan. 17.

"Take the positives from tonight and learn from some of the mistakes," said Schachtler. He said that means a lesson in keeping your feet moving at all times on the ice, and if the players do that "we can play with anybody."


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