Ian Clark's High School Hockey: Londonderry skaters drop Saint Thomas in a wild one
Londonderry's Eric Coburn celebrates one if his three goals in the Lancers' 7-6 overftime win over St. Thomas Aquinas of Dover at the ICEnter in Salem on Wednesday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Londonderry escaped with a 7-6 overtime win over St. Thomas in a wild game at The ICEnter Wednesday night.
The Lancers won for the eighth time in as many games to improve to 9-2-0. St. Thomas (8-2-1) lost for the first time since its season opener against Trinity.
Trailing 6-4 late, Londonderry pulled goalie Mitch Schirch for an extra attacker and got one goal back with 48 seconds remaining when Cooper Roy wristed home a rebound chance during a net-mouth scramble.
"You can't really explain it," St. Thomas head coach Andrew Leach said of the crazy nature of the game. "That's hockey right there. We're protecting the lead, they pull the goalie and storm the net. Our guys didn't give up, they just got outworked and outmanned in front."
The strong finish for Londonderry erased what had been a dominant third period effort for St. Thomas. Trailing 3-1 to open the third, the Saints scored a power-play goal 31 seconds in when Aaron Garrison popped home a rebound.Glenn Wiswell slipped a shot through Schirch's five-hole less than a minute later to tie the game at 3-3.
But back came St. Thomas, building a 6-4 lead on goals from Isaac Leslie (finishing a two-on-one with Nolan Lavallee) at 9:19, Niall Foster at 11:20 and Ryan Benedetto at 11:36.
"He's the backbone. He keeps us in it," Leach said. "He was on his game and has played like that all year. This was his first test where he's been peppered."
St. Thomas tied the game at 1-1 22 seconds into the second period on a Wiswell tally. The Lancers got a pair of goals from Coburn to take a 3-1 lead into the third.
Gridlock for the girls: The race to the playoffs in the girls' ice hockey division should be entertaining. Eight teams will make the postseason tournament and entering play on Wednesday, the battles for the bottom slots were just as tight as those for the top.
And then the scramble for the last three spots is a logjam as well. Souhegan (4-4), Bishop Brady/Trinity (3-4), St. Thomas/Dover (3-5), Concord (1-6), Exeter (1-6) and ConVal of Peterborough (0-9) round out the lower half of the standings. Even ConVal, with seven games remaining, is not out of the race by any means.
What to watch: Today's top matchup in the boys' ranks is Salem (9-1) at Manchester Memorial (5-2-1) at JFK Coliseum at 4:30 p.m. Memorial will face another tough test Saturday at 1 p.m. when it travels to play St. Thomas at Dover Arena.
Ian Clark covers high school hockey for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.