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Hockey Team Suspended From State Playoffs; Will Battle For Conference Championship Tonight



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Newtown High School's hockey team will play for a conference championship, Friday, March 3. Even with a win, the feeling will be somewhat bitter-sweet, however, since the Nighthawks will not be competing in the Division III State Tournament next week.

The Nighthawks, due to excessive major/ misconduct penalties, have been disqualified by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC). Newtown's appeal was denied at a hearing Friday morning.

A scuffle following Newtown's regular-season finale against North Haven, at Danbury Ice Arena, on February 25, resulted in several player suspensions and pushed the Nighthawks out of the state playoff mix,  despite the team finishing with the fourth-best winning percentage in D-III. According to CIAC rules a team is declared ineligible if it commits seven or more major and/or misconduct penalties.

Four Newtown players were suspended for the team's South-West/Southern Connecticut Conference tourney semifinals on March 1, and three were expected to be reinstated for the championship game.

Newtown, which went 12-7-1 during the regular campaign, defeated Masuk of Monroe 2-1 in the semis, at Milford Ice Pavilion. The Hawks, seeded third in the conference tourney, will face top-seeded Lyman Hall-Haddam Killingworth-Coginchaug, at West Haven's Bennett Rink, beginning at 8 pm. The Hawks were beaten 4-2 by the Lyman Hall team during the regular season.

Newtown coaches are frustrated with the ruling given some of those suspended were either attempting to break up the scuffle when North Haven's bench unloaded onto the ice, or were merely standing on the ice and, thus, suspended.

North Haven, a Division II team, was already eliminated from playoff contention, and finished the season with a record of 4-15-1.

Newtown and North Haven players get into a scuffle following their game on February 25. The result of the incident was Newtown being disqualified from the state tournament. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Newtown and North Haven players continued their battle after the final horn. When the game ended in a 2-2 tie, the pushing and shoving continued. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
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