CROMWELL, Feb. 18, 2023 – Goalie Jeremy Wagner made 10 saves and four different players scored as the Newington co-op ice hockey team won a share of the CCC South championship on Saturday night with a 4-0 victory over Rocky Hill co-op at the Champions Skating Center.
The Nor’easters, which consist of players from Newington, Canton, Cromwell, Berlin and Manchester, can win the league championship outright with a victory over the Northeastern co-op team (Rockville and RHAM) next Saturday night.
It’s the third straight CCC South title for the Nor’easters (16-2, 12-1 CCC South), which won it outright last year and shared it with Hall/Southington and Wethersfield in the COVID-shortened 2021 season.
Rocky Hill, which includes athletes from Middletown, Plainville, Vinal Tech and Haddam-Killingworth, came out motivated and skating hard to secure a berth in the state tournament.
Stout goaltending by the Terriers’ Kyle Kundrath and Wagner helped to keep the game scoreless through the first period.
In the second period, Newington’s Harrison Ranger opened the scoring at 4:39 knocking home a rebound off teammate and Canton High defenseman Evan Howard’s point shot to give the Nor’easters the 1-0 lead. Evan Oliver also assisted on the goal.
Newington scored three goals in the next 4:20 to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
Just 29 seconds after Ranger’s goal, Jack Petronio took the puck off the boards at mid-ice and threaded a rink-wide pass to the streaking Howard. Howard entered the Terrier zone on a 2-on-1 break and wristed a low shot past Kundrath to increase the lead to 2-0.
The Nor’easters continued to press their advantage and less than two minutes later, Howard’s goal broke through the Terrier’s defense again.
This time, Ranger was the recipient of a great pass by sophomore defenseman Nate Thomas. Ranger carried the puck over the Rocky Hill blue line and found linemate Oliver streaking toward the net. Ranger’s shot-pass hit Oliver’s stick blade perfectly for the deflection goal and a 3-0 lead.
Just over two minutes later, Canton player Mason Buckley knocked down an attempted Terrier clearing pass, fed teammate Josh Grimm, who took a shot toward a tangle of players at the top of the Terrier crease. Mike Deegan’s quick hands managed to find the puck and slide it over the goal line for Newington’s fourth and final goal.
In the third period, a solid Newington defense led by Ben Fialkievicz, Gavin Munson and Austun Visone, prevented any dangerous Terrier scoring chances from developing and helping Wagner secure his fifth shutout of the season.
Newington co-op 4, Rocky Hill co-op 0
Newington (16-2) 0 4 0 — 4
Rocky Hill (5-13) 0 0 0 — 0
Goals: Mike Deegan (N), Evan Howard (N), Harrison Ranger (N), Evan Oliver (N); Assists: Josh Grimm (N), Jack Petronio (N), Mason Buckley (N), Josh Beaudoin (N), Nate Thomas (N), Howard, Ranger, Oliver; Saves: Jeremy Wagner (N) 10, Kyle Kundrath (RH) 24; Shots: Newington 30-10
Paul Helenski contributed to this story.