NEWINGTON, Dec. 30, 2022 – Goalie Jeremy Wagner made 12 saves to get his third shutout of the season as the Newington High co-op boys hockey team shutout New Milford, 3-0, to hand the Green Wave their first loss of the season Friday night at Newington Arena.
After a scoreless first period which saw both teams trade scoring opportunities, the Nor’Easters burst into the lead just 1:07 into the second period when Mike Deegan finished off a 2-on-1 rush, rifling a shot past Green Wave goalie Jonas Veleas to give Newington co-op a 1-0 lead.
Andrew Stribling started the scoring play with a perfectly chipped pass to Josh Grimm, who carried the puck over the Green Wave blueline and found Deegan streaking toward the net. Grimm’s pass hit his teammate in perfect stride to finish the play.
Twenty-six seconds later, Newington co-op, which is comprised of players from Newington, Berlin, Canton, Cromwell and Manchester, struck again.
Canton sophomore Brandon Cole dislodged the puck free from a New Milford defender along the boards where Harrison Ranger picked it up made a neat move toward the net and found an open Evan Oliver, who converted a rebound off his initial backhand shot to put the Nor’easters up by a 2-0 margin.
Four minutes later, the Nor’easters were on the board again. Canton High defenseman Gavyn Munson knocked down an attempted Green Wave clearing pass at the blueline, skated the puck down the right side of the offensive zone and backhanded a perfect pass to teammate Stribling, who one-timed the puck past New Milford’s Veleas to give Newington a 3-0 lead.
In the third period, the Green Wave came out determined to get themselves on the scoreboard and back into the game. Although they managed to pressure Wagner in net several times, stout defensive play by the Canton quartet of Mason Buckley, Evan Howard, Ben Fialkievicz and Munson along with a couple of key saves by Wagner kept the visitors off the scoreboard for the shutout win.
The defending state champions improve to 5-0 on the season with their ninth straight win. New Milford (3-1) had won their first three games of the season. Newington co-op (5-0, 3-0 CCC South) returns to action on Wednesday when they host the Southington/Coginchaug/Westbrook co-op team (0-5) in a CCC South match at 4 p.m. at Newington Arena.
Newington co-op 3, New Milford 0
New Milford (3-1) 0 0 0 — 0
Newington co-op (5-0) 0 3 0 — 3
Goals: Andrew Stribling (N), Evan Oliver (N), Mike Deegan (N); Assists: Josh Grimm (N), Harrison Ranger (N), Gavyn Munson (N), Cole Brandon (N); Saves: Jeremy Wagner (N) 12, Jonas Veleas (NMilford) 28