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Four goals from Howard help Newington rally to beat Eastern Connecticut, 7-3

The Newington co-op ice hockey team erased a three-goal deficit to beat Eastern Connecticut, 7-3 as head coach David Harackiewicz won his 400th career game. (Photo courtesy Newington Hockey Booster Club)

NEWINGTON, Dec. 17, 2022 – Defenseman Evan Howard of Canton had a career-high four goals to help the Newington co-op hockey team erase a three-goal deficit and beat the Eastern Connecticut Eagles co-op team Saturday night, 7-3 at Newington Arena.

The visiting Eagles, a 10-school co-op program in eastern Connecticut, took an early 3-0 lead before the Nor’easters scored seven unanswered goals to earn their second win of the season.

The win was also the 400th career win for Newington co-op coach David Harackiewicz, who began coaching with the program in 1996.

Goals by Eastern Connecticut’s Owen Pazzaglia, Nick Rembish and Declan York in the first six minutes of the game stunned the home crowd as the Nor’Easters trailed, 3-0.

But an interference penalty on Eastern less than three minutes after the Eagles had taken their big lead seemed to light a fire under the Newington squad.

Just 24 seconds into their power play, Howard blasted a shot from the right faceoff circle past Eastern netminder Cam McCollum to put the home squad on the board. Howard’s goal came after a nifty setup from Harrison Ranger.

Newington (2-0) cut the lead to one goal when Canton sophomore wing Cole Brandon got the puck to Howard, who scored his second goal of the game to cut the lead to 3-2.

The Nor’easters’ momentum carried into the second period when Kyle Klimas finished a passing play of Josh Grimm to Howard converting a rebound to tie the game at 3-3.

Clearly flustered, the Eagles gave up several more chances within the next two minutes until Newington’s Andrew Stribling converted teammate’s Mike Deegan pass into the go-ahead goal at the 5:23 mark of the period. Grimm finished the second period scoring  with a wraparound goal after some hard work below the goal line by Ranger to extend Newington’s lead to 5-3.

The Eagles came on strong to begin the third period, but after a couple of key saves by Newington goalie Jeremy Wagner the home squad regained their equilibrium when Howard, on a great individual effort, skated out of the offensive zone corner and eluded three Eagle defenders to score his hat trick goal and give his team a 3 goal lead.

Howard wasn’t quite done until he scored the Nor’Easters’ seventh goal, wristing home a shot off of another Deegan pass.

Newington’s netminder Wagner finished with 12 saves while his Eagles counterpart McCollum finished with 28.

Newington co-op, which includes players from Newington, Berlin, Manchester, Cromwell and Canton, returns to action on Wednesday when they host the Enfield/East Granby/Stafford co-op at 4 p.m. at Newington Arena.

Newington co-op 7, Eastern Connecticut 3
At Newington

Eastern CT (0-2)                3  0  0  — 3
Newington co-op (2-0)       2  3  2  — 7
Goals: Owen Pazzaglia (EC), Nick Rembish (EC), Declan York (EC), Evan Howard (N) 4, Kyle Klimas (N), Andrew Stribling (N), Josh Grimm (N), Cole Brandon (N); Assists: Pazzaglia (EC), Howard (N), Grimm (N), Harrison Ranger (N) 2, Mike Deegan (N) 2, Tanner Jorczak (N), Gavyn Munson (N); Saves: Cam McCollum (EC) 28, Jeremy Wagner (N) 12; Shots on goal: Newington, 35-15

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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