NEWINGTON, Feb. 25, 2023 – Mike Deegan had two goals while Andrew Stribling had a goal and three assists as the Newington co-op hockey team finished the regular season with a 5-1 CCC South win over the Northeastern co-op team at Newington Arena.
The Nor’easters clinched the top seed for this week’s CCC championship tournament. Newington (18-2, 13-1 CCC South) will host No. 4 seed Hall on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Newington Arena.
Buoyed by a boisterous Senior Night crowd, the Nor’Easters’ struck early in the first period when Deegan scored the first of his 2 goals after Stribling redirected a pass to him from Josh Grimm. Deegan slid the puck under Shamrocks goalie Bauer Cordero-Larkin’s left pad for the 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately, the lead lasted 1:12 when a Newington miscue at their blue line allowed Shamrock forward Alex Stoner to pick up the puck and skate in on Nor’easter goaltender Jeremy Wagner. Stoner’s backhand shot eluded Wagner and tied the score, 1-1.
The game then settled into a tight checking affair highlighted by a number of hard hits from each team. The game finally opened up when at the 9:13 mark of period 2 Grimm took a Deegan pass, broke by a Shamrock defender, deked and slid a backhanded shot past Northeastern goalie Jack Bell who had come in to replace Cordero-Larkin after an injury.
The goal excited the crowd and Newington responded 2½ minutes later when Deegan took another Stribling pass and rifled a wrist shot past Bell to increase the lead to 3-1. That lead would hold though the rest of the period thanks, in part, to several stellar stops by Wagner.
Newington, which is comprised of players from Newington, Canton, Cromwell, Berlin and Manchester, were able to put the game away early in the third period with a pair of power play goals.
Stribling netted the first man-advantage goal assisted by Jack Petronio and Canton’s own Gavyn Munson. The second power play goal was scored by Evan Oliver who punched a shot pass netminder Bell. Grimm and Harrison Ranger assisted on the goal.
Again, Wagner was asked to stand tall over the last five minutes to protect the 5-1 score with defensive help from Ben Fialkievicz, Evan Howard and Mason Buckley. Wagner finished stopping 24 of 25 shots while 3 Shamrock netminders stopped 30 of 35 shots.
Newington co-op 5, Northeastern co-op 2
Northeastern (3-15) 1 0 0 — 1
Newington (18-2) 1 2 2 — 5
Goals: Mike Deegan (New) 2, Josh Grimm (New), Andrew Stribling (New), Evan Oliver (New), Alex Stoner (Northeastern); Assists: Grimm 2, Stribling 3, Evan Howard (New), Harrison Ranger (New), Gavyn Munson (New) 2, Jack Petronio (New); Saves: Jeremy Wagner (New) 24; Bauer Cordero-Larkin (North) 15, Jack Bell (North) 11, Ryan Murphy (North) 4
Paul Helenski contributed to this report