CANTON, N.Y. — Brown always seems to step it up a notch against St. Lawrence. Behind junior goalie Brian Eklund’s 44 Saves, the Bears continued this trend, skating to a 3-3 tie on Saturday.
“Brown always plays us tough,” St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh said. “It was a great game and an exciting game. They battled and counter-attacked all game long, and deserved the tie.”
With Brown’s goalie pulled and just 13 seconds left on the clock, Bears captain Jon Zielinski tied the game. Zielinski received a nice pass off the stick of defenseman Paul Esdale, and buried it past St. Lawrence goalie Sean Coakley from point-blank range.
“I was fortunate,” Zielinski said. “I was just looking to get the puck on net. [Esdale] found me with a great pass and I luckily found some open space to put it in.”
The goal came on the Bears’ power play, which yielded plenty of controversy. After Brown defenseman Josh Barker knocked down Alan Fyfe from St. Lawrence, the St. Lawrence players and crowd were stunned that there was no interference call. Seconds later, Fyfe was whistled for a slashing penalty.
Brown capitalized and sent the game to overtime. The Brown bench erupted after Zielinski made it 3-3, as the rest of the rink looked stunned that St. Lawrence didn’t hold on for the win.
“I am pleased with the way we battled,” Brown coach Roger Grillo said. “We came up here to Clarkson and St. Lawrence, played some of our best hockey on arguably the toughest road-trip in all of college hockey, and left without a loss, but still without a win.”
Brown’s Keith Kirley opened up the scoring at Appleton Arena halfway through the first period. Kirley’s extra effort in front got him the goal in front on a nice pass from linemate Pascal Denis, stuffing it by Coakley.
But Brown’s penalty killing woes continued just a few minutes later. After giving up all three of its goals against Friday night down a man, the Bears surrendered a goal from St. Lawrence superstar Erik Anderson, on a bullet shot coming from the right point.
Just a couple of ticks later, the Skating Saints took the lead 2-1 on an even strength goal under the arm of Eklund. Jim Lorentz got the goal for SLU, and it appeared the Saints could easily run away with the game.
The Bears tied it up for the first time, thanks to a silky-sweet move by Brown forward Matt Kohansky. Kohansky left a St. Lawrence defender hanging, and got the goal with a wrist shot to the stick side.
But the Saints again grabbed the lead before the second period ended, this time on the power play again. The Brown penalty kill got a little too over-aggressive, and St. Lawrence’s Rob Bartlett found himself in all alone on Eklund. He wasted no time beating him wide side, giving the Saints a 3-2 lead they would take to the third.
The Bears fought back hard all throughout the third, and finally knotted it with an empty net behind them. Brown killed many tough penalties in the third, and Brian Eklund was fabulous in net time and time again, making 14 of his 44 saves in the third, and tacking on five more in the overtime session.
“Our speed helped us out big time,” Grillo said. “We got some great goaltending this weekend, from Eck and from our freshman Yann Danis. Hopefully we can keep up our good play against Harvard on Thursday, and finally get a win.”
In overtime, most of the time was spent in the Brown end of the ice, but the Bears had one great chance turned aside. With just over 10 seconds left in the game, a quick flurry in front of the St. Lawrence net didn’t result in a Brown goal, and St. Lawrence picked up the puck and headed down ice for one last shot.
Mike Gellard fired a bullet from just inside the blue line, which Eklund gloved just before the final buzzer.
“A shot went off the toe of my skate in front,” Coakley said, referring to Brown’s late pressure. “The puck then bounced out loose for a while, and I saw one of their forwards and one of our defenseman go for it. I couldn’t tell who would get their first, but luckily the puck deflected in our direction.”
St. Lawrence outshot Brown 47-23. The Saints were 2-for-4 on the power play.
The Bears head home from a tough weekend in upstate New York with their first two points in ECAC play, tying both Clarkson and SLU.