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January 26. 2013 9:25PM

NHIAA Boys' Hockey: Memorial wins battle of the best


Manchester Memorial goalie Joshua Jacob and Brady McNulty celebrate the team's 4-3 win over Salem at the IceCenter in Salem Saturday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
SALEM - The Manchester Memorial hockey team did in one period what no other team has been able to do in an entire game against Salem on Saturday night at the Icenter.

The Crusaders scored three times in the final frame, including two by Brendan Sullivan, to claim a 4-3 win over the Blue Devils in a battle between the top two teams in Division I.

Sullivan tied things up 3-3 at 9:19 of the third period and then scored the game winner with 1:11 left to play. It was the junior forward's first game back since suffering a shoulder injury in a game against Hanover on Jan. 12.

"Before the game I asked him to pick up where he left off," Memorial coach Mark Putney said about his leading scorer. "He certainly did that."

Memorial is now 9-1 and Salem, which hadn't given up more than two goals in a game prior to Saturday, drops to 8-2-1.

The momentum swung in Salem's favor when Cody Soucy scored his second goal of the game midway through the third period to put the Blue Devils up 3-2.

But less than a minute later, Sullivan scored the first of his two goals to tie it up 3-3.

Back-and-forth action ensued and once again it was Sullivan who struck.

He raced into the Blue Devil zone on the left side and faked around a Salem defenseman to create a two on one. He then fired a shot over the glove of Blue Devil goalie Nick Phair (26 saves) for the winner.

"The defender pinched and I went around him real quick," Sullivan said. "Then I just took a shot and it went in."

It was Salem that took advantage of the Olympic sized sheet early on as they got out to a 2-0 lead. Shane Morin scored the only goal of the first period to make it a 1-0 game and then Soucy netted his first at 4:21 of the second to make it 2-0.

"They started out good," Salem coach Mark McGinn said about his squad. "Then we had a little lull. Neither team gave up."

Memorial finally got on the board when Jacob Boylan scored on the power play at 8:46 to make it 2-1, which is the way the second period ended.

The Crusaders started the third period on a power play but couldn't capitalize. It wasn't until shortly after it was killed off they struck.

Sullivan had the puck behind the Salem net and just before he took a hit was able to send a pass to a cutting Ethan Pollock. Pollock one-timed a shot and it was tied 2-2 at 2:13 of the third.

Soucy then gave his team the lead again with a nice move from the left wing to beat Memorial goalie Joshua Jacob (18 saves) at 8:34 just to have it tied up again by Sullivan at 9:19.

"We talked about how this was going to be a character test being down two goals," Putney said. "They were hungry in the second and they came out in the third and worked hard."

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