Hanover, NH. — Win or go home for St. Lawrence tonight. Coach Mark Morris juggled his lines to maximize a better outcome. It looked to be paying off early as the Saints play to open the game was markedly better than last night. Four minutes into the game Dartmouth’s Kevan Kilistoff was called for Tripping. SLU was pressing but a Slashing call on Carson Gicewicz at the five-minute mark negated the man advantage. The four-on-four action seen both Adrian Clark and Daniel Mannella tested in their respected goals. The Saints Ted McGeen hit the post just after the halfway mark of the period. David Jankowski fanned on a rebound attempt on Clark’s doorstep, as defenseman Connor Yau was able to affect Jankowski enough to miss the puck.
Dartmouth had a power play when SLU’s Keenan Suthers was called for Roughing at 11:03. St. Lawrence actually had a fantastic shorthanded bid by Ryan Garvey on a two on one rush when he hit the crossbar on a shot. The Saints penalty kill was all over the Big Green for the first minute of the power play. Mannella was there to turn away any Dartmouth opportunity.
At 14:43 St. Lawrence’s Michael Ederer beat Clark with a shot from the left circle giving the Saints the 1-0 lead. Dartmouth answered with immediate pressure by Matt Baker, which resulted in a penalty on SLU’s Jake Stevens for Kneeing at 14:57. Again the Saints PK was buzzing and creating chances. Mannella made a few stops on a scrum in front but was unable to corral the loose puck which Dartmouth’s Jeff Losurdo banged home at 16:44 tying the game at 1-1. The power play goal was Losurdo’s fourth goal of the season. Dartmouth outshot St. Lawrence 15-11 for the period, as well as won the face-off battle 14-8.
Dartmouth had the best chance of the early second period. A shot pass from Yau at the right point to Carl Hesler at the left post that just went wide of Mannella’s net. A Drew O’Connor Hooking penalty at 3:53 put SLU a man up. A cross ice pass from Zach Risteau to a wide open Michael Laidley at the point led to a shot pass by Laidley that Cade Gleeker tapped into the right of Clark for the 2-1 Saints lead at 4:28. Once again the Saints lead would be short-lived. At 7:09 a shot by Dartmouth’s Will Graber would bounce in off of SLU’s Stevens as he battled out front with O’Connor. O’Connor was given the goal with Graber and Quin Foreman getting the helpers. This line has been clicking the last month or so.
The pace of the period was frenetic, as both teams had chances up and down the ice. Mannella robbed Ryan Blankemeier who was all alone out front. Then he stopped Losurdo after some nifty passing with line-mate Hesler. Clark was equally as big if not more as he somehow kept the puck out of his net around the 3:00 mark on a wraparound attempt by an SLU player. The Saints Laidley was called for Tripping at 17:35 but the Saints again were able to kill it off. They were rewarded when Daartmouth’s Graber was called for Cross-Checking at 19:28. Again Dartmouth outshot St. Lawrence for the period, 12-4, but the Saints evened up the face-off battle going 14-8.
The third period continued with SLU on the man advantage. The Saints couldn’t muster much on this one. The two teams traded rushes but each goalie was feeling good, making the stops. Cam Strong had a chance for Dartmouth off of a faceoff win but a split save by Mannella was the difference. Outstanding performance by Mannella as the period wound down. Dartmouth was throwing everything at St. Lawrence but just couldn’t get the puck past Mannella.
It was punch after punch from each team but neither could land the knockout blow. Each team would take their Time Out in the period’s last minute. It didn’t benefit Dartmouth when they took theirs, it didn’t benefit SLU either. Sudden death would be the deciding element in this one. After three periods Dartmouth had doubled St. Lawrence in shots 46-21 but could not break the Saints goalie who had 19 saves for the third period while his counterpart Clark had 19 for the entire game at this point.
Dartmouth had the best chances in the early part of the overtime. Missing wide on one shot as Mannella was on his rear end, and just getting swept away as it came back across his crease. Dartmouth was all over St. Lawrence as play carried on for over seven minutes without a whistle. SLU’s Stevens had a blast that Clark turned away. The Big Green raced down the other way and Mannella stopped a blast. Stevens then hit the post at the other end. SLU refused to end their season.
As the overtime ticked down towards completion Bo Hanson chipped the puck up the boards from the SLU blueline to a streaking Ederer who raced into the Dartmouth zone and sent a pass across the crease that Risteau backhanded past Clark for the overtime winner at 17:33.
Coach Morris was pleased with his team’s compete level tonight.
“It’s a gutsy effort,” Morris said. “They weren’t going to go away, and we knew we weren’t going away. We got the last rush there and one heck of a pass therefrom Ederer to Risteau. Risteau was really solid for us tonight. Kind of a breakout game for him as a Freshman.” Morris’ thought Mannella played a hell of a game but wasn’t buying the shot total “He came up big. He’s been hungry to get back in the net. He came up big for us here.”
Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet was visibly frustrated but commended his team’s effort
“Playoff hockey is tough,” Gaudet said. “I thought our kids played really well, St. Lawrence competed hard. We had plenty of chances, they made a play at the end. They won the game. We move on to the next game. I was really pleased with our guys. I thought we played really well and executed well. We just weren’t able to get the game winner. It wasn’t from lack of effort that’s for sure.”
The third and deciding game is Sunday night at 7:00 pm. Win or go home.