NEWINGTON - Goals were plentiful on one side of the ice as the Newington boys ice hockey co-op picked up its third win of the season Wednesday night with a 5-0 win over the Southington-Coginchaug-Westbrook co-op at the Newington Ice Arena.
Sophomore goaltender Jeremy Wagner posted his second shutout of the season and received an early dose of offensive support from three goals in the first period. Sophomore Kyle Kilmas added two goals for Newington in the third period as it matched its highest scoring total so far this season by dominating control of the puck for 45 minutes.
“We were quick to pucks,” Newington head coach David Harackiewicz said. “We emphasized this week catching passes, passing the puck and [holding] possession and I thought we did a great job with puck possession.”
Southington’s problems were rooted in its struggles to get the puck out of its defensive zone. Failure to clear the puck and generate its own offensive opportunities allowed Newington to establish position on Southington’s side of the ice and consistently put shots on goal.
The newly formed co-op is 0-2 to start its first season together and is still in search of its first goal of the year.
“We need better puck control in our zone, better puck protection,” Southington head coach Bob Align said. “It’s the turnovers in our defensive zone that are not generating the offense coming out of our zone. We definitely need better control on the [puck] entry and driving to the net.”
Junior Josh Grimm opened the scoring for Newington less than three minutes into the contest after finding the puck in a scrum in front of the net and sending a short shot past Southington goalie Max Scirocco.
After assisting Grimm on the first goal, Junior Harrison Ranger doubled Newington’s lead a few minutes later with an unassisted goal from straight in front of the goal. Ranger and Kilmas each finished with two points in the contest.
Senior captain Braeden Humphrey posted another goal for Newington late in the first period, ripping a backhand shot from the left side of the ice to beat Scirocco high. Newington asserted its skills and strength over its opponents early in the game and built a sizable lead quickly.
“I thought we used our points well, passing to the points, “Harackiewicz said. “We were in front of the net, [we had] a lot of guys with good sticks in front of the net. We told them before the game [to] come quick and jump on them early. I thought we were just the faster and quicker team the first 10 minutes and I think it was important for us to do that.”
Newington maintained its grip on the possession battle and continued to get shot opportunities in the second period, but failed to convert any into goals as Southington clogged the middle of the zone and made it difficult for shots to get to the goal. Ailgh said this was when his team did its best job of keep the puck on the outside of the rink and stopped Newington from getting shots in the middle, which made Scirocco’s time in net easier.
“I thought Max played really well, he made first stops on almost all the shots,” Ailgh said. “We kind of let him down a little bit in cleaning up the rebounds and keeping the puck to the outside. When we kept the puck to the outside, we were successful defensively. When we let them penetrate inside, that’s when they hurt us.”
Kilmas’ goals came as Newington continued to put pressure on Southington late in the game. He connected on a bouncing shot from distance in the first two minutes of third period that snuck right between Scirocco’s legs. He scored again seven minutes later when freshman Jack Petronio had a breakaway, stopped on a dime to evade a defender and found Kilmas at the front of the net for an open shot.
Both teams are off until the new year and both have Conard as their next opponent. Southington will gets back on the ice first, facing Conard at 7:20 p.m. on Monday while Newington gets two more days of rest and hosts Conard at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or email@example.com
NEWINGTON 5, SOUTHINGTON 0
Southington 0 0 0 - 0
Newington 3 0 2 - 5
Goals: Josh Grimm (N), Harrison Ranger (N), Braeden Humphrey (N), Kyle Kilmas (N) 2.
Assists: Harrison Ranger (N) 2, Blake Blackwood (N), Mike Deegan (N), Jack Petronio (N).
Records: Newington 3-1, Southington 0-2.