Feb. 23, 2006

Eustace gains final

Bishop Eustace kept its drive for a three-peat alive yesterday.

Al Wooley and Brad Schuler scored three minutes apart in the third period as the Crusaders, seeded second, rallied for a 3-2 semifinal victory over Toms River North in the Southern Conference ice hockey tournament at Pennsauken's SkateZone.

Two-time champion Bishop Eustace (15-4-2) will travel to top-seeded St. Augustine tomorrow for a 5 p.m. final at Vineland Ice Arena. St. Augustine eliminated Red Bank Catholic in the other semifinal.

Toms River North, which had split the regular-season series with the Crusaders, took a 2-1 lead into the third period.

With the one-goal edge, the Mariners started to utilize an intense trapping defense, but Bishop Eustace didn't melt under the pressure.

Wooley, a sophomore defender, tied the score two minutes into the final period and Schuler, a junior center, added the winning goal three minutes later.

Junior winger Tyler Hancock had a goal and two assists for the Crusaders.

Bishop Eustace goalie Colin Saltiel kept his team in striking distance the first two periods with some tough stops. The junior finished with 31 saves.