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Newington co-op pitches shutout to win CCC South championship

The Newington High co-op boys hockey beat Northeastern on Saturday night to win the CCC South championship. (Photo courtesy Newington high hockey)

Twenty-four hours earlier, the Newington co-op boys hockey team had little trouble defeating the Northeastern co-op squad at Newington Arena with seven players scoring in a 7-2 win over the Shamrocks.

It was a different story on Saturday night as the two teams met again at the Bolton Ice Palace. In a tight checking, physical contest, Newington goalie Jeremy Wagner made 14 saves and the Nor’easters put two goals into the net to beat the Shamrocks, 2-0, and win the CCC South championship.

Newington (15-3) finishes the CCC South season undefeated with a 7-0 record to claim their second title in the last three years. The Nor’Easters shared the title with Wethersfield and Hall/Southington last winter.

A lot of neutral zone play, penalties and long shots from their respective bluelines characterized the action between the two squads.

Despite having two power play opportunities early, the Nor’Easters were unable to put a puck past Shamrock goalie Bauer Cordeiro-Larkin until Newington’s Josh Grimm was able to scoop up a pass from linemate Mike Deegan, curl into the slot and fire a shot over Cordeiro-Larkin’s shoulder for a 1-0 Nor’Easter lead with 1:05 left in the first period.

The lead stood up through a penalty-filled second period with both teams’ penalty killing units preventing any further scoring.

The Shamrocks best opportunity to tie or go ahead came at the beginning of the third period when they gained a two-man advantage on their power play. But great efforts from Nor’Easters defenders Braeden Humphrey (Canton) and Niko Giotsas (Canton) and Wagner in net turned back several Shamrock chances to keep the Nor’Easters inn the lead.

The Newington co-op consists of players from Newington High, Canton, Cromwell, Manchester and Berlin.

With 1:12 remaining in the contest and Cordeiro-Larkin on the Shamrock bench for an extra attacker, Newington’s Tyler Leavitt took a pass from linemate Evan Oliver and chipped a neat pass off the boards to Harrison Ranger. Ranger accelerated past a lone Shamrock defender and slid the puck into an open net for the final 2-0 victory.

Wagner stopped all 14 shots that he faced including several big saves during the Shamrocks’ two-man advantage. It was Wagner’s sixth shutout of the season and lowered his goals against average to a sparkling 1.67.

Cordeiro-Larkin nearly matched Wagner’s shutout stopping 25 Nor’Easters’ shots. Northeastern, a co-op program hosted by Rockville, also includes players from five other schools – Bolton, Coventry, East Hartford, RHAM and Windham Tech. They call themselves the Shamrocks. Northeastern slips to 4-13 on the season and 1-6 in the CCC South.

Newington returns to the ice on Saturday when they host the Rocky Hill co-op on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8:20 p.m. at Newington Arena.

Newington co-op 2, Northeastern co-op 0
At Bolton
Newington (15-3)            1  0  1  — 2
Northeastern (4-13)       0  0  0  — 0
Goals: Josh Grimm (New), Harrison Ranger (New), Assists: Mike Deegan (New), Tyler Leavitt (New), Evan Oliver (New); Saves: Bauer Cordeiro-Larkin (NE) 25, Jeremy Wagner (New) 14; Shots: Newington 26-14

Newington co-op 7, Northeastern co-op 2
At Newington (Friday, Feb. 18)
Northeastern (4-12)       0  1  1  — 2
Newington (14-3)            1  2  4  –  7
Goals: Josh Grimm (New), Evan Howard (New), Jack Reynolds (New), Mike Deegan (New), Evan Oliver (New), Jack Petroino (New), Derek Heckler (New), Patrick Frommer (NE), Carter Dalrymple (NE); Assists: Grimm 2, Howard 2, Deegan 3, Andrew Stribling (New) 2, Harrison Ranger (New), Blake Blackwood (New), Braden Humphrey (New), Tyler Szegda (NE), Ross Sutherland (NE); Saves: Bauer Cordeiro-Larkin (NE) 34, Jeremy Wagner (Newington) 10; Shots on goal: Newington 41-12


Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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