Clinton goalie, Joe Bonanza (1), makes a big save on New Hartford’s Grant Romeo (18) during second period action.
Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
Cullen Moran’s unassisted goal with 3:33 remaining in the third period, gave the New Hartford Spartans a big 2-1 victory over the Clinton Warriors, in Section III Hockey action this afternoon at the Clinton Arena.
A big crowd turned out for the Martin Luther King Day afternoon affair, which featured National Division leading Clinton and second place New Hartford, which came in just one game back.
Today’s contest was the third time these two storied programs have met this season, with each team winning one of the previous meetings.
The first period was a fast paced fifteen minutes of solid hockey, with the Warriors getting the lion’s share of time in the offensive zone.
To a man, the Spartans seemed eager to take the body early, whereas Clinton was more content moving the puck.
Clinton’s philosophy worked well in the early going, as the Warriors rung up twelve shots on goal in the opening period, as opposed to just three for the Spartans.
Spartan sophomore goaltender, Tyler Hansen, was the difference in this game early on, holding off the Warriors each time he was tested in the first period, holding the score at 0-0 after fifteen minutes of action.
The second period saw the Spartans ramp up their skating and stick work, peppering Clinton goaltender, Joe Bonanza, with seventeen shots.
Bonanza’s efforts, including slamming the door on four New Hartford power plays in the second period, gave the Warriors a boost and forward, Tom Monaghan, gave Clinton a 1-0 lead as a result.
With 9:35 to go in the second, Peter Burke fed Monaghan in front of the Spartans net and the senior put it home, bringing the big home crowd to its feet.
The teams went to the second intermission tied at 20-20 in shots on goal. The third period will be remembered as one of the most entertaining of the season, to be sure.
Already leading 1-0, Clinton had a golden opportunity to go up by two goals, with 9:10 to go in the game.
Tom Monaghan was dragged down in the act of shooting by New Hartford’s Alex Vitagliano. Monaghan was then awarded a penalty shot.
Hansen’s save was a huge shot in the arm to the Spartans late in the game.
A few minutes later, with New Hartford on yet another power play, Christian Nimey redirected a low slap shot from Alec Bard on the point, beating Bonanza and tying the score at 1-1, with 6:44 to go in the contest. Nimey’s goal was his 14th of the season.
The Spartans got a goal from a very familiar source, with 3:33 remaining in the game, when Cullen Moran fired a quick wrister under the arm of Joe Bonanza, which found the back of the net, giving the Spartans a 2-1 lead.
Moran’s goal was his Section III, Division II leading 16th of the season.
A late penalty to New Hartford gave the Warriors a man advantage for the final 1:35 of the game, but Hansen and the Spartans defense held the line and the Spartans took home the 2-1 win.
With the win, New Hartford improves to (6-4) in league play, and into a statistical tie with Clinton atop the National Division with 12 points. Clinton drops to (6-3) in the division.
Tyler Hansen finished with 30 saves for the Spartans, while Joe Bonanza stopped 29 for Clinton.
New Hartford 2 Clinton 1
1 2 3 Total
New Hartford 0 0 2 2
Clinton 0 1 0 1