Hamilton hockey splits, tops Westmoreland

As the week started, the Hamilton ice hockey team found itself battling with Clinton for the fourth and final Division II East playoff spot, and the week's results (a split of two games) did little to change that equation

That playoff task got a bit more difficult after last Tuesday's game with Rome Free Academy at Kennedy Arena, as the Emerald Knights lost to the Black Knights 6-4.

RFA, in second place behind New Hartford, bolted well out in front early, turning a 2-0 advantage into a 5-1 lead by the time the second period was done.

Hamilton did not surrender, though. With Alex Brink earning two goals and one assist, the Emerald Knights pulled back within range during an active third period, but the margin was too much.

Kam Mikulka and Derrick Rogers each had one goal and one assist, with Joe Santoro getting two assists and Blaine Holcomb also getting an assist. Combined, goalies Brendon Rusch and Brady Carroll had 38 saves. Max Bartell (two goals, three assists) and T.J. Reilley (three goals, one assist) led the RFA push.

Back home at Starr Rink Friday night to face Westmoreland, the Emerald Knights quickly returned to the win column, taking out the Bulldogs 6-2.

It didn't start out well, as Westmoreland led 2-1 through one period thanks to Alec Foster getting one goal and assisting on the other, by Jason Arcuri.

Led by Brink and Rogers, though, Hamilton moved out in front 3-2 by the second intermission, then lit up the Bulldogs for a trio of unanswered tallies in the third period.

Brink and Rogers both finished with two goals and two assists. Kinnon Nolan-Finkel and James Smith both scored, too, with Santoro gaining three assists as Holcomb and Nick Heintz each got two assists. Nick Koen had an assist, too.

At 4-4-1 in league play (5-6-2 overall), Hamilton has an important game Tuesday at Clinton before coming home Saturday to face defending state champion New Hartford.

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