|NEWSOME BLUE DEFEATS WEST BOCA FOR STATE HOCKEY TITLE|
|Written by Amy Kowalski|
Sunrise, FL The Newsome Ice Wolves brought home their first State High School Hockey Championship today by defeating the West Boca Bulls 6 - 5 in the final game of the Statewide Amateur Hockey of Florida (SAHOF) Tournament at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise.
The Wolves were the only Tampa Bay area team in the Division II tournament and they faced stiff competition from 5 South Florida opponents over the course of the weekend. This was the third consecutive trip to the State Tournament for Newsome Blue, but the team had not won a game in previous years. Their road to the State title took them up against St. Thomas Aquinas (L 4 - 1), Park Vista (W 6 - 2), and University (3 - 3 tie; shootout loss), but their record was enough to earn them the fourth seed in the semi-finals. Their 10 goals against in the first three games was the fewest of all the teams in the tournament thanks to solid defense and strong play from goalies Kenny Roundy and James Tzilvelis.
In the semi-finals on Sunday morning, Newsome faced off against the top-seeded and previously undefeated Stoneman-Douglas Eagles. The Wolves dominated much of the game, and their aggressive forechecking seemed to intimidate Stoneman. Two goals from the line of Mikey Semago, Scott Vargas and Tom Kowalski in the first period were enough as goalie James Tzilvelis was solid in net. The Eagles pulled within one in the second period but were unable to tie it up as the Newsome defense shut down their scoring chances. A third for Semago was disallowed with 8.1 seconds remaining but the Wolves had enough to put them into the Championship game.
In the final game, Newsome met their second undefeated team of the day in the second seed West Boca Bulls. The Bulls were ready to play, fresh off their South Florida Division title two weeks ago. Newsome got off to a shaky start, allowing the Bulls' Freddy Kasten to score just 17 seconds into the game. Carmen Masterangelo gave West Boca a 2 - 0 lead at 8:06 of the first. Just when it seemed that the Wolves had met their match, they capitalized on a two-man advantage and seemed to settle into their game. Michael Shurtleff fired a strong shot from the high slot on a nice feed from Will McKenna and 14 seconds later, still with a man advantage, Chris Bonser scored to tie it up. With just over a minute and a half remaining in the first, Newsome made it 3 - 2 when Brendan Rhoney scored the first of his 3 on the day, again assisted by McKenna.
In the second period, the Bulls came back to tie it as Masterangelo scored on a rebound at the 11:41 mark. He completed his hat trick near the 7 minute mark to give the Bulls a 4 - 3 lead. About 5 minutes later, McKenna found Rhoney again going to the net and he tied it up at 4. With only 25 seconds remaining, the Wolves took the lead for good on a goal by Mikey Semago.
Rhoney completed his hat trick at 10:34 in the third on a nice feed from Chris Bonser to give Newsome a 2 goal lead. Strong defensive play from the Wolves kept West Boca from many quality chances in the final period. Near the one minute mark, the Wolves were penalized, giving the Bulls an opportunity to get back in the game. Having pulled their goalie to give them a two-man advantage, Kasten put one by Tzilvelis to make it 6 - 5 with 22 seconds remaining. Newsome was able to gain control of the puck in the final seconds to earn their first State victory.
The Ice Wolves bring home the traveling State Championship trophy and will keep it until next year's tournament, adding Newsome to the collection of previous South Florida champions. Coaches Dan Rondeau, Chris Murillo, Don Kiernan and Luis Vargas, Jr. were very proud of the team effort that earned them the title. The victory caps off a stellar season for Newsome Blue, who can add a State title to their recent local Championship. The 12 seniors on the team will now move on to college and adult hockey teams, but will savor the memories earned today. After accepting the congratulations of their families and friends after the game, they shared one final "One, Two, Three, Wolves!"
Report compiled by Amy Kowalski