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HOOKSETT - The rematch of last year's Division I hockey championship between Manchester Memorial High School and Pinkerton Academy of Derry wasn't nearly as exciting as the title game.
The Crusaders scored two goals eight seconds apart in the first period and never trailed as they cruised to a 6-1 win over the Astros at the Ice Den on Wednesday.
Last year it was Pinkerton that edged out Memorial by one goal at the Verizon Wireless Arena. This time the Crusaders made a statement with a relentless attack that saw five different players score goals and their team outshoot the Astros 34-18.
Bryan Syrene was the lone Memorial player with two goals, both of which came in the third period. Nick Burgess, Brendan Sullivan, Bryce Jacob and Brady Sufat all had lone goals.
It was Jacob and Sufat that netted the two eight seconds apart to set the tone in the first. Jacob struck first on a feed from Kyle Broussard to make it 1-0 at the 6:57 mark, then Sufat doubled the lead with an unassisted goal at 7:05.
The Crusaders (3-0) extended their lead with two quick goals in the second period. Sullivan made it a 3-0 game just 46 seconds in and the lead went to 4-0 on a goal by Burgess with 12:59 left in the frame.
Then the Astros (1-2) got their only goal, a short hander by Dominic Corsetto with 10:55 remaining in the second.
Pinkerton had a golden opportunity to cut even deeper into the lead when it got a two-man advantage for an entire two minutes with 4:49 left in the second.
The defense of the Crusaders stepped up, backed by three incredible saves from goalie Joshua Jacob (17 saves), and killed off the advantage without surrendering a goal.
The only scoring in the third was by Syrene. He netted his first to make it 5-1 when he beat Astro goalie Matt Marchman (28 saves) at the 3:41 mark, then rounded out the scoring with 5:56 left.