Trinity squanders lead, falls to Londonderry, 7-6, in overtime

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HOOKSETT, NH — If Trinity High is able to qualify for the Division 1 State Hockey Tournament, it might be able to look back at Saturday night stunning 7-6 loss to Londonderry High as a learning experience. But if the Pioneers fall just short, players and coaches will probably spend the off-season reliving a disastrous three-minute stretch of the third period.

Trailing, 6-3, with nine minutes to play in the third period, Londonderry rallied to send the game into overtime, then completed the comeback on junior Brandon Morin’s second goal of the game.

“We deserved to lose this one. We gave it away,” said Trinity Coach Mike Connell. “We were all about the glory. We had guys who weren’t willing to play both ends of the ice. And when you’re not willing to play hard on both ends of the ice, this is what happens.”

The game-winner was set up by a strong rush down the left side by Michael Maloney (goal, assist), who flipped a centering pass to Matt Boyon. Trinity goalie Braeden Lubeicyzk made the initial save on Boyon but couldn’t control the rebound. Morin swooped in, unchecked, and knocked it in the open net with 2:38 left in OT, ending a wild contest.

Senior forward Cooper Gaudio had a monster offensive game for Trinity, with four goals, the last of which came just 15 seconds into the third period to give the Pioneers a 5-3 lead. Less than a minute later, Sam Maurice (goal, assist) scored off as feed from Tyler Manning to make it 6-3 and Trinity looked to be in complete control.

All that changed when Londonderry (6-5-0) erupted for three straight goals in a span of 2:54 to tie the game. Two of the goals came off the stick of Lancers’ senior Logan Bower, cutting the Trinity lead to 6-5. Then, with 5:42 left in regulation, Londonderry got the equalizer on a strange play. As Trinity tried to work the puck out of its own zone, the puck got trapped in the skates of junior defenseman Brennan Walsh, right in front of the net. As Walsh tried to work it free, Malone stuck his stick between Walsh’s skates, gave the puck a hard poke and pushed it past Lubeicyzk (28 saves), evening the score, 6-6.

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Trinity (4-5-0) had multiple chances to retake the lead, including an open-net rebound that was swept clear and a terrific bid by Aiden Palmeter (goal, two assists) that clanged off the post.

Gaudio gave Trinity a 1-0 lead after one period but Morin tied the game just six seconds into the second period when his harmless dump in somehow found its way past Lubeicyzk.

Trinity retook the lead on Gaudio’s second of the game, a nifty wrister that beat LHS goalie Aiden Cardosi (30 saves) to the glove side. A power play goal by Jayden Hamilton tied the game, 2-2, only to see Trinity claim the lead again when Palmeter knocked home a rebound.

Hamilton’s second tied the game with 2:33 to play in the second period. But just nine seconds later, Trinity again had the answer when Gaudio completed the hat trick on a backhand.

Trinity returns to action Wednesday, on the road at Salem.

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Bill Gilman

Bill Gilman is a veteran journalist with 35 years of experience covering community news and sports in New England. He and his wife have two grown sons and two perfect granddaughters.

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