NEWINGTON, March 1, 2023 – Mike Deegan scored with 14 seconds left in regulation to lift the Newington co-op hockey team to a 3-2 win over Hall in the semifinals of the CCC South tournament Wednesday night at Newington Arena.
It was his second last-minute, game-winning goal in the last seven days. A week ago, he had a last-second goal to help the Nor’easters beat Glastonbury.
A faceoff win for Newington with 24 seconds left in the game turned into a breakout for the Nor’easters led by Andrew Stribling, who carried the puck into the Titans’ zone. Stribling dropped a pass to Josh Grimm, who spotted Deegan going to the net. Grimm’s pass found Deegan whose redirected shot fooled DelGrego for the winning goal.
Newington (19-2) advances to the CCC South tournament final on Friday against Conard at Freitas Rink at UConn in Storrs at 4 p.m.
Hall (11-10) simply would not go away. Twice, the Titans scrambled back to tie the score at 1-1 and 2-2 before Deegan’s game-winning score.
The Nor’easters took an early 1-0 lead in the first period on Josh Grimm’s wrap-around power play goal. Harrison Ranger had fed a pass to Deegan whose wrist shot from just inside the blue line lodged behind the net. Grimm alertly located the loose puck, corralled it onto his stick and curled around the net before Titans goaltender Ethan DelGrego could slide to the post.
Hall’s Ben Gerken tied the game in the second period. He skated in from the blue line to the front of the net, took an Owen Campbell pass, and poked the puck past a scrambling Wagner to tie the score at 1-1.
A foreshadowing of the game’s end then occurred late in that second period, when Deegan took a pass from Ranger off a faceoff win by Evan Oliver and scored on a screened shot that eluded DelGrego with on five seconds left in the period to re-establish Newington’s lead, 2-1.
The gritty Titans fought back just 29 seconds into the third period when Hudson Hollander shot toward the net deflected off the glove of a Nor’easter player and past goalie Jeremy Wagner to tie the score at 2-2. CJ Cohen assisted on the play.
Though the rest of the 3rd period was played mostly in the Hall defensive end. DelGrego’s goaltending and clutch defensive play from the Titans was looking to send the game into overtime.
Newington co-op 3, Hall 2
Hall (11-10) 0 1 1 — 3
Newington (19-2) 1 1 1 — 3
Goals: Mike Deegan (N) 2, Josh Grimm (N), Hudson Hollander (H), Ben Gerken (H); Assists: C.J. Cohen (H), Owen Campbell (H), Deegan, Evan Oliver (N), Grimm (N), Harrison Ranger (N) 2, Andrew Stribling (N); Saves: Jeremy Wagner (N) 11, Ethan DelGrego (H) 28; Shots: Newington 31-13
Paul Helenski contributed to this report