MANCHESTER, N.H. — A three-goal third period helped the Brooks School boys' hockey team secure a 4-2 victory over Belmont Hill in the NEPSAC Martin/Earl title game at Sullivan Arena on Sunday.
The third-seeded Bishops led, 1-0, after two periods and scored two goals in a 31-second span early in the third to build a 3-0 advantage.
"We felt good at 1-0 after two but I think the two quick ones at the start of the third really gave us another gear and the guys felt that groove," said Brooks coach Dave Ries.
Junior forward Paul Capozzi sneaked the puck past Belmont Hill goaltender Ryan McConnell at 1:41 to give the Bishops a 2-0 lead. Teammate Max Rand found Capozzi just outside the crease on the left side and the latter poked the puck by McConnell.
Brooks (21-5-4) took a 3-0 lead at 2:12 in the third when Henry Cormier, a junior from Lexington, Mass., tallied his second goal of the contest. Cormier recorded his first of the game at 10:13 of the second with a one-timer from just inside the blue line. Max Kahn and Alex Vincent-Ouici both assisted on Cormier's first score.
"He was a little snakebit most of the season on the scoresheet but he always created chances and always did a lot of other things very well," Ries said of Cormier. "He's a great penalty killer, good on faceoffs. He does a lot of the things well but for him to get rewarded in a game like this . . . I was really happy to see that."
It looked as if Brooks goaltender Max Prawdzik was going to earn a shutout victory until Belmont Hill (17-9-6) lit the lamp at 15:45 of the final period. Charlie Barrow, a senior defenseman from Belmont, Mass., went top shelf on Prawdzik to cut the Bishops' lead to 3-1. Twenty seconds later, Christian O'Neill scored to bring No. 4 seed Belmont Hill within one goal of tying the contest.
"You didn't really see the kids get rattled or anything like that," Ries said. "The bench felt the way after we gave up two the way it did before we gave up two; it just sort of woke them up a little bit."
Jack Goodwin capped Brooks's scoring at 17:09 of the third with an empty-netter.
"With the exception [of] that two-goal flurry by us there in the third period, I think Brooks carried the play," said Belmont Hill coach Jeremiah McCarthy.
Belmont Hill outshot the Bishops, 24-22. Prawdzik, a senior from Andover, Mass., made 22 saves for Brooks. McConnell, a junior from Medford, made 19 stops for Belmont Hill. The Bishops held Belmont Hill scoreless on its two power-play opportunities.
"Everybody on the team played a perfect game today and that's what we needed," said Cormier.