AUBURN – Edward Little High School needed to win another hockey game. Any hockey game. Opening that get-well gift at the expense of the top-ranked team in Eastern Class A was the best medicine of all.

Corey LaRue scored four goals Wednesday night, including the go-ahead tally in the opening minute of the third period and an empty-netter late, to power EL past Brunswick, 5-3, in a divisional crossroads game at Ingersoll Arena.

EL (8-7-1) ended a three-game losing spell – the last two in fall-from-ahead fashion in the closing stages – while dealing Brunswick (13-4) the end of a five-game winning streak.

“We needed that big time. The tent kind of fell down last week,” said EL coach Craig Latuscha. “That will be a huge confidence builder for us heading into the playoffs, and it should solidify a spot for us.”

The Red Eddies were still ranked fourth in the region despite the recent slide. Another loss could have been a season-killer, though, and EL had every reason to feel a familiar sense of dread when it gave away leads of 2-0 and 3-2 on power-play goals by Kit Smith, Josh Clark and Blaine Cardali.

“We didn’t want it to happen again,” LaRue said. “Five-on-five, I think we outplayed them. I think we knew we could all along.”

LaRue made sure that confidence was more than idle chatter when he stuffed home Billy Brewster’s pinpoint pass from behind the net for a 4-3 lead with 14:05 remaining.

EL employed a neutral zone trap to protect the tenuous advantage, and it cut Brunswick’s cracks at Red Eddies goalie Adam Loudermilk from 12 in each of the first two periods to six in the third. Loudermilk finished with 27 saves.

“They outplayed us from the goalie to the defensemen to the offense,” said Brunswick coach Dave Boucher, who is in his first year at the Dragons’ helm after two lengthy stints at EL. “Certainly this game meant a lot more to them (in the standings), but we played to win. We made some bad passes. We weren’t getting the rebounds, and the rebounds were there.”

Brewster and LaRue gave the Eddies a quick 2-0 lead. Shawn Hird set up Brewster’s goal at 44 seconds of the first period. Brewster then fed LaRue for his first strike of a productive night at 2:06.

Smith and Clark each got an assist from Cardali with the man advantage to pull the Dragons even. LaRue put EL back on top with help from Hird and Josh Mosher at 6:49 of the second, only to see Brunswick take advantage of another penalty with Cardali’s equalizer 29 seconds later. The third period was played at even strength.

“We finally stayed out of the box,” Latuscha said. “That helped us out a lot.”

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