J.R. Bria might be new to the rivalry between the Trumbull and St. Joseph boys ice hockey teams, but the first-year head coach of the Cadets couldn’t be more familiar with the participants.

Bria grew up playing youth hockey alongside Trumbull assistant coach Pat Cooper and played for Trumbull head coach Greg Maxey as a member of the Wonderland Wizards Pee Wee team. That’s all the data Bria needed to know the Eagles were going to fight until the final whistle.

“You can tell with the type of team (Maxey) builds. They’re just never going to stop,” Bria said. “They’re going to keep coming.”

That’s exactly what Trumbull did, scoring twice over the final eight minutes of the third period to get to within a goal before pressuring the Cadets the rest of the night.

But St. Joseph had just enough left in the tank to hold the Eagles off, pulling out an exciting 5-4 victory in front of a large crowd at the Rinks at Shelton in a game that featured five power-play goals and eight different goal scorers.

“Trumbull never stopped fighting,” said Bria, who took over as head coach following the departure of Marty Crouse.

“Down 5-2, they got the game to within arm’s reach and proved to us that it was. It was a good back-and-forth game in an intense rivalry. Thankfully we were able to get it done.”

Trumbull took advantage of a five-minute major penalty by St. Joseph late in the first period, scoring twice on two nice passing plays to tie it 2-2.

Freshman Matt Mocker scored off passes by sophomore Jake Liebowitz and Sarosky with 6:09 left and Watson converted off assists by Jake Crowe and Brady Jensen with 4:38 left.

Trumbull (5-10 overall), which has now lost seven straight against the Cadets dating back to 2008, got goals from senior Matt Sarosky and senior Mike Cullen over a span of 59 seconds midway through the third period.

But St. Joseph goalie Dylan Batterson (19 saves) made a number of tough stops over the final minutes to post the key FCIAC victory.

Senior defenseman Sam Watson and Sarosky finished with one goal and one assist each for Trumbull, which had four different goal scorers and seven different players tally assists.

Chris Kirven and Nick DiSabella led St. Joseph with one goal and two assists each. Senior defenseman Justice Cook scored twice for the Cadets, who improved to 6-5-1 overall and 5-1 in the FCIAC, winning for the fifth time in six games.

“This is a character win for us,” Bria said. “This is a very intense rivalry, and it was fun coaching against some good friends of mine.

“For me personally, it was a nice win. And we needed this for our FCIAC standings, so it was a good win all around.”

Both teams skated hard all night despite using just two lines of forwards each.

Trumbull senior goalie Francis Fromegeot kept the Eagles close with 27 saves, including 15 in the third period. The Cadets finished with a 32-23 edge in shots and both teams had their collection of glass-shaking hits.

But Trumbull made a number of early defensive mistakes, failing to handle the puck at the blue line, giving the Cadets two 1-on-1 scoring chances against Fromegeot.

St. Joseph cashed in on both, getting goals from Kirven and sophomore Will Foldesi to take a 2-0 lead in the first period.

“I thought we did a lot of good things,” Maxey said. “But I thought we made a lot of mistakes at the beginning. We did the same thing against Ridgefield.

“I don’t want to take anything away from the way (St. Joseph) played. But I felt like it was us beating ourselves in our zone or us not making the contact we needed to make. But they capitalized on our mistakes.”

Trumbull took advantage of a five-minute major penalty by St. Joseph later in the first period, scoring twice on two nice passing plays to tie it 2-2.

Freshman Matt Mocker scored off passes by sophomore Jake Liebowitz and Sarosky with 6:09 left and Watson converted off assists by Jake Crowe and Brady Jensen with 4:38 left.

St. Joseph regained the momentum as DiSabella scored off a great feed from Kevin Finn crossing behind the net to make it 3-2 going into the first intermission.

Cook scored the next two goals, one in the second period on a wrist shot from the blue line and another early in the third after a wild scramble in front of the net, to put St. Joseph up 5-2.