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February 22. 2014 9:31PM

NHIAA Hockey: St. Thomas edges Trinity


St. Thomas Aquinas' Niall Foster scores against Trinity's goalie Curtis Wirbal, at Sullivan Arena in Manchester on Saturday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

GOFFSTOWN - Seniors Glenn Wiswell, a forward, and Niall Foster, a defenseman, took care of the offense and junior goalie Zane Angelopoulos handled the backend to lead St. Thomas Aquinas to a 4-3 win over Trinity on Saturday at Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College.

The Saints opened a 3-0 first-period lead and held on late to avenge one of their rare defeats and solidify their hold on one of the top spots in NHIAA Division I ice hockey.

"It was a wild game," said St. Thomas coach Andrew Leach. "It was a gutsy little win for us. It's good to get out of here with a win."

Wiswell and Foster each figured in all the Saint goals. Wiswell scored three of them and assisted on the other, which was scored by Foster.

Foster assisted on each of Wiswell's goals.

"They connect pretty well with each other," Leach said. "They break out of the zone pretty good and they come at you with speed."

Angelopoulos had 55 saves, several of them outstanding.

"Zane played phenomenally," said Trinity coach Mike Connell. "You've got to give him credit. Even I applauded a couple of times."

St. Thomas improved to 13-2-1 overall and Trinity fell to 10-5-0.

Trinity won the first game between the teams, 3-1, on Dec. 16 in Dover.

The Saints took charge early.

Wiswell finished off a two-on-one with Foster to open the scoring in the first period.

He scored again, with Foster picking up another assist, just 12 seconds into a St. Thomas power play at 8:55 of the period.

They then changed up the order and Wiswell sent Foster in alone on net and he beat Trinity starter Curtis Wirbal just inside the left post with 21.6 seconds left in the opening period to make it 3-0.

Carroll put senior Neil McCarthy in net to start the second and the Pioneers started to rally.

They outscored St. Thomas 2-1 in the second period and it was 4-2 entering the third.

Mitch Myers got the first Trinity goal with a power play blast and after Wiswell scored his third of the game, again from Foster and also on the power play, Cam Brown scored for Trinity.

The Pioneers ended the period on a two-man power play advantage that carried over for 1:13 into the third period.

As part of the St. Thomas penalty, Wiswell was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and also a 10-minute misconduct that kept him out of the lineup much of the final period.

The Saints killed off the five-on-three and maintained their two-goal lead.

Drew Merrick scored 5:06 into the third period to cut the St. Thomas lead to 4-3.

The Pioneers got no closer.

Trinity came in off a 1-0 loss to Bishop Guertin on Wednesday and has lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

Both coaches were happy with the way their teams played as the postseason approaches.

"It's all about the playoffs right now," Connell said. "You've got to win games, but the point is, it's how you're playing. If we got a couple of bounces and Zane didn't have his magic power or whatever it was today. ...''

The Pioneers have a busy final week ahead. They play at Bishop Guertin on Monday, face Salem at home in a storm makeup game on Thursday and close out the regular season at Hanover on Saturday.

St. Thomas is down to its final two games, both at home. The Saints play Bishop Brady on Tuesday and Exeter on Saturday.


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