Immaculate hires Newtown’s McLoughlin as boys hockey coach

Leaving his alma mater was a little tough, but for a chance to coach Immaculate boys hockey, Patrick McLoughlin took his shot.

The school named the former Newtown goalie and assistant coach its new coach on Wednesday night. McLoughlin, who turns 26 in June, had been back coaching at his alma mater since 2017.

“It’s a really good group of kids. It’s going to be an exciting year,” McLoughlin said. “Long-term, it’s just building continuous success, doing the right things. We’re going to represent ourselves and Immaculate the right way. We want to be a team the school and administration can be proud of.”

McLoughlin made 29 saves in Newtown’s 2-1 overtime win in the 2014 CIAC Division III final, when he was a senior. He went on to play college club hockey at Western Connecticut, then went on to be a head coach both in the Western Connecticut Youth Hockey Association and for Newtown’s junior varsity.

“I really appreciate, especially, Paul Esposito (Newtown’s longtime head coach),” McLoughlin said. “He was the one who gave me my first opportunity to coach. They’ve got a lot of good kids. They’re going to have a lot of success.

“But Immaculate in my opinion is one of the best CIAC high school hockey coaching jobs. It’s tough, but I’m excited for the opportunity.”

He said he and Immaculate’s administration were on the same page on the program’s potential.

The school announced that Will Schlichtig — who won a Division I championship with Fairfield Prep as a sophomore in 2014, hours after McLoughlin’s victory — and Bill Garvey will serve as assistant coaches. Former UConn goalie Matt Grogan is goaltending coach.

Brian Lugo was the Mustangs’ head coach for the past three full seasons after taking over the team, which was then in the final days of a co-op with New Fairfield, at the tail end of 2018-19. He had stepped away from actively coaching the team at midseason, saying he wanted to avoid being a distraction after a couple of parents tried to rally opposition to him.

Lugo had said he hoped to return next year, but the school posted the job soon after the end of a 10-11-0 season.; @fornabaioctp