Following the NJ Freeze’s suspenseful win over the Philadelphia Flyers in the first game in NJ on December 21st, the USA Warriors prevailed in its two games, with the Flyers and the Freeze, to move into first place. The Warriors started off their game looking rusty while the Flyers, still warmed up from the game against NJ, were sharp keeping the Warriors pinned in their own zone for most of the first period. The Warriors were lucky to be tied 1 to 1 at the end of the first period, on a goal by Josh Misiewicz. The Flyers then got the lead to 3 to 1 at the end of the second period and 4 to 2 in the third period. Scoring for the Flyers were Mike Hallman and Danny McDevitt with a hat trick. The Warriors began to wake up in the game and pour it on in the last half of the third period as the Flyers showed signs of tiring playing their second game in a row. The Warriors eventually scored 4 goals in the third, with Noah Grove and Josh Misiewicz alternating goals, with the tying goal coming with about 2 minutes remaining in the game and the final go-ahead goal by Misiewicz, for a hat trick, with about 40 seconds to play. Jack O’Grady of the Flyers had two assists in the game while Rob Easley had two assists for the Warriors.
In the third game of the day, the USA Warriors defeated the NJ Freeze 4 to 0, with a well-deserved shutout for goalie Ben Harrow. In this game, which was closer than the scoreboard showed, Josh Misiewicz had another two goals, while Rob Easley had two as well. Kevin Gatson of the Warriors had an assist. NJ played their typical hard, physical game but could not overcome the effort of the Warriors.
With Northeast Passage Wildcats having defeated the New York Rangers the same day in Connecticut, the USA Warriors moved into first place with a 5-1-1 record at the end of the first half of the Northeast Sled Hockey League season. The second half of the season should be a good one with the Rangers, Wildcats and Flyers gunning for the Warriors and with NJ and Connecticut potentially playing spoiler roles.
USA Warriors capture inaugural CT Cup!
Newington 11/20/14----The Northeast Sled Hockey League (NESHL) came into Newington Arena this past weekend where six teams from MD to NH competed for the first ever CT Cup. The action was fast and furious from the first game on Saturday to the last game on Sunday. Forty three goals were scored and thirty six assists handed out. Add to that the number of checks and there was plenty of action at each game.
The Opening Ceremony on Saturday included four members of the US Women’s Sled Hockey Team at center ice sporting shiny new Gold Medals from their recent history making Women’s Sled Hockey World Championship. After recognizing their team’s accomplishment they were each introduced to the crowd to loud cheers! The singing of the National Anthem was performed by a vocalist from Central CT State University. To conclude the Opening Ceremony Jason Jakubowski, vice president of external relations from Hospital for Special Care and Carlos Arellano from McDonalds of Newington proceeded to center ice for the Ceremonial Puck Drop.
Despite a majority of the players having some type of mobility-impairment fans were surprised to see the level of competitiveness of the teams. Sled Hockey is played in a sled, or sledge, that has a seat and two skate blades mounted underneath. Players also use two sled hockey sticks which allows them to skate, shoot, and pass just like the able-bodied version of hockey. The NESHL is proud to have members, both past and present, of the USA Men’s and Women’s Sled Hockey Teams on local league clubs. There are many players who have medals from International or Paralympic competition.
“This type of event took a lot of work from many people but it would not have been possible without the support of Hospital for Special Care, McDonalds of Newington, ConnectiCare, and Newington Arena” said NESHL Commissioner Mike Ciavarro. “I heard many positive comments from the weekend’s games and there was already talk about next year’s event!”
After all the action on Saturday the weekend Championship came down to one game on Sunday. The NY Rangers were taking on the Philadelphia Flyers as the USA Warriors were in the stands watching. A Ranger win and they were the champs. A Flyer win by 4 goals or more and they would be the champs. A Flyer win by 3 goals or less and the Warriors would be victorius. The Flyers took the early lead in the game and opened up a 2-1 advantage after two periods.
The third period, 12 final minutes, and one of these three teams would be taking home the Cup. The action was back and forth but the Flyers started to get the better of the Rangers. The Flyers scored two more goals making the score 4-1. The Flyers outshot the Rangers in the period but could not put one more past the Ranger netminder. The buzzer went off and the USA Warriors became the first CT Cup Champions!
There were plenty of stories for everyone to share with family and friends this weekend. Not only do these games bring out the competitiveness of the players but they also build friendships and promote camaraderie. These memories will last forever, and be built upon next year!
CT Cup Trophy Presentation
Left to Right---Matthew Catalano, Admitting Community Liaison, Hospital for Special Care; Janet Connolly HSC Sports and Community Programs Manager, Hospital for Special Care; Josh Misiewicz and Thom Hirsch, USA Warriors; Mike Ciavarro, NESHL Commissioner; David Kelly Chairman of the Board, Hospital for Special Care