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Masuk spoils Newington co-op’s bid for 2nd straight state title

Masuk players and fans celebrate after the Panthers beat Newington co-op for their first-ever state championship in boys hockey Monday night. (Photo courtesy CIAC)

Senior Drew Scalia had three goals and four points to lead the Masuk-Monroe boys hockey team to their first-ever state championship as the top-seeded Panthers beat defending state champion Newington co-op, 6-3, in the CIAC Division III championship game at Quinnipiac University’s M&T Bank Arena on Monday night.

No. 2 Newington co-op, which includes skaters from Canton, Cromwell, Manchester and Berlin, was looking for their second straight title.

The Nor’easters (23-3) tied the game at 2-2 early in the second period when Nate Thomas scored his first goal of the season with 1:29 gone in the period.

Newington had a few other good opportunities but Masuk goalie Maddex LaFountain was up to the task. He deflected a hard shot from Harrison Ranger with his blocker and stopped a shot from Michael Deegan with 6:29 remaining. LaFountain stopped Evan Oliver who had a nice drive to the net with 5:05 left in the period.

Scalia put the Panthers ahead to stay with 3:37 left in the second period. He stole a pass in the Newington defensive zone, took a step and fired a shot into the net to give Masuk a 3-2 lead.

The Nor’easters got into a jam with two penalties in the span of 36 seconds. Evan Oliver was sent to the box for tripping but goalie Wagner was penalized 36 seconds later for cross checking giving Masuk a 5-on-3 power play advantage.

That left Scalia with just too much space to manuever. With 1:47 remaining, he was wide open when he took a cross-ice pass from Austin Braiewa and deposited into the upper part of the net past Wagner for a commanding 4-2 lead.

For Scalia, it was his 39th goal of the season and his 71st point.

Masuk, which won SCC/SWC Division II title, dominated the final period, giving up just four shots to secure their first state championship. The Panthers lost in their only other state final appearance in 2006.

Scalia gave Masuk a 1-0 lead just 1: 33 into the game on a beautiful no-look pass from teammate Nick Kondub.

But Newington co-op responded immediately with Josh Beaudoin scoring off a faceoff win from Jack Petroino 21 seconds later. Petroino won a faceoff in the Masuk end with the puck sliding to Beaudoin, who blasted it into the net.

Masuk took a 2-1 lead when Nicholas Kondub scored off an assist from Scalia with 6:57 left in the first period.

The Nor’easters was in the championship game for the sixth time in program history and the second year in a row.

This is the fourth year that Canton has been part of the co-op program. Ten Canton skaters are in the program and six dress on a regular basis – Gavyn Munson, Evan Howard, Mason Buckley, David Andrews, Cole Brandon and Ben Fialkievicz.

Masuk 6, Newington co-op 3
At Hamden
Newington co-op (23-3)    1  1  1  — 3
Masuk (23-1-2)                    2  2  2  — 6
Goals: Drew Scalia (M) 3, Nick Kondub (M), Kyle Sutfin (M), Josh Beaudoin (N), Nate Thomas (N), Josh Grimm (N); Assists: Jack Petronio (N), Harrison Ranger (N), Kondub (M) 2, Scalia (M), Luke Kondub (M), Austin Braiewa (M), Michetti (M), Sutfin (M); Saves: Jeremy Wagner (N) 23, Maddex LaFountain (M) 24. Shots: Masuk 29 (6-11-12), Newington 27 (15-8-4)

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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