St. Lawrence goalie Alex Petizian put Union into a must-win situation for an ECAC Hockey tournament first-round home-ice berth, thanks to his incredible play.
Petizian made 31 saves, including 16 in the first period during which the Saints were short-handed for over six minutes, and got some help from the goal post to lead St. Lawrence to a 2-0 victory over the Dutchmen on Friday at Messa Rink.
The loss dropped the Dutchmen (8-11-2 ECACH, 15-15-3 overall) into ninth place, one point behind Quinnipiac for the final home-ice spot. The Bobcats dropped a 2-1 decision to Harvard.
Union hosts Clarkson tonight at 7. The Golden Knights (8-9-4 ECACH) moved into seventh place with a 4-2 win over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Clarkson has a two-point lead over Union.
A Dutchmen win would move them into a tie with the Knights, for either seventh or eighth, depending on what Quinnipiac (8-10-3) does at Dartmouth tonight. If Union beats Clarkson, it splits the season series. The Dutchmen would be seeded higher than the Knights because of more league wins, which is the second tiebreaker.
If Union ties Clarkson and Quinnipiac loses, it ends up in a tie for eighth with Quinnipiac. In that scenario, the Dutchmen lose because the Bobcats have a better record against the top four teams. Union and Quinnipiac split the season series, and would have the same number of wins.
Dutchmen coach Nate Leaman isn’t feeling any pressure.
“I don’t have a problem with it,” Leaman said. “We have a mature hockey team. We have great leadership on our hockey team. We have five seniors to play for. . . . We’ve been there. We’ve been in this situation many times. I can’t say our team will be uncomfortable whatsoever. I think our team’s looking forward to it as a great opportunity.”
Opportunities weren’t in short supply for the Dutchmen in the first period, even after the Saints (10-7-4, 18-11-4) took a 1-0 lead on Zach Miskovic’s power-play goal midway through the first.
The Saints took four straight penalties, giving the Dutchmen every chance to take the lead. Union had three two-man advantages, and the power plays were uninterrupted for 6:04.
But Petizian stopped eight shots in that span. He also was fortunate when Matt Cook and Lane Caffaro hit the post with shots. Later in the period, Andrew Butote had a shot ring off the post.
“It was, obviously, really tough,” Petizian said. “But my defensemen let me see every shot, and they cleared out every second chance they had. It made my job easier. I felt good out there.”
After Jeremiah Cunningham gave the Saints a two-goal lead just over 51⁄2 minutes into the second period, the Dutchmen had three more power-play chances, including a four-minute advantage when forward Mike McKenzie was called for charging and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Once again, Petizian and the Saints frustrated the Dutchmen.
“At those times, you want your power play to step up, and give the guys a lift,” Caffaro said. “We were getting chances, but that’s half the job. You want to get the whole job done.”
That was something Petizian did all game.
“We have certain things we call ‘Road Rules,’ and one of the things is to try to do everything we can to not let that home team gain any momentum,” Saints coach Joe Marsh said. “If they throw that first one in, who knows [what happens]. We were very fortunate.”
The Dutchmen limited the Saints to 14 shots on goalie Corey Milan. It’s the 10th time this season in games that Milan has started that he has made less than 20 saves. He is 3-7 in those games.
Saints defenseman Matt Generous suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee when he was checked into the boards by Union’s Brian Yanovitch in the first period. He’ll miss tonight’s game at RPI.
St. Lawrence 110 — 2
Union 000 — 0
First Period — 1, St. Lawrence, Miskovic 13 (DeVergilio, McBride), 9:58 (pp). Penalties — Walters, Uni (roughing), 9:01; DeVirgilio, StL (tripping), 12:59; Miskovic, StL (hooking), 13:47; Curran, StL (cross-checking), 15:07; D. Keller, StL (charging), 17:03.
Second Period — 2, St. Lawrence, Cunningham 3 (Fensel, Carden), 5:32. Penalties — Zajac, Uni (high-sticking), 2:05; Shaffer, Uni (boarding), 3:21; DeVergilio, StL (charging), 6:56; Valery-Trabucco, Uni (hooking), 7:33; McKenzie, StL, double minor (charging, unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:46; Potts, Uni (interference), 19:09.
Third Period — None. Penalties — None.
Shots on Goal — St. Lawrence 5-5-4 — 14. Union 16-8-7 — 31.
Power-play opportunities — St. Lawrence 1 of 5; Union 0 of 7.
Goalies — St. Lawrence, Petizian 14-8-4 (31 shots-31 saves). Union, Milan 15-15-3 (14-12).
A — 1,821. T — 2:05.
Referees — Joseph Carusone, David Brown. Linesmen — David Brown, Leo Boylan.
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Categories: College Sports