CANTON, N.Y. — Celebrating the 50th anniversary of its rink, St. Lawrence turned back the clock and tried to exact some revenge.
Dartmouth wouldn’t have it.
Exactly a half-century after Dartmouth won the first game ever played at Appleton Arena, the Big Green rode a two-goal night from right winger Mike Murray and a sterling goaltending effort from Nick Boucher to a 2-2 tie Saturday night against the defending ECAC champs.
The tie salvaged a point for Dartmouth on a difficult trip to the North Country. The Big Green (7-8-2, 4-4-2 ECAC) lost a 4-3 decision Friday night at Clarkson.
“This is a big point for us,” said head coach Bob Gaudet. “St. Lawrence is a good team and they had a lot of emotion tonight with the 50th anniversary.
“I thought our guys played hard. We played a good, solid game. I especially thought out penalty killers did a great job.”
Indeed, the Big Green limited the St. Lawrence power play — the best in the league — to no goals on four attempts.
On the flip side, Dartmouth’s power play had some success. Both of Murray’s goals came with the extra man, as the Big Green finished the weekend 4-for-8 in that department.
For St. Lawrence — donned in the school’s 1950-51 uniforms — the pageantry of the night was matched by an outstanding effort from the Saints’ vaunted first line. Mike Gellard, Erik Anderson and Russ Bartlett each registered at least a point — the latter two had two assists apiece — helping the home team to record the tie.
With a 5-4 win against Vermont Friday night, the Saints (7-8-4, 4-2-3 ECAC) earned three points on the weekend.
“St. Lawrence is an excellent team,” Gaudet said. “This is a difficult road trip because Clarkson and St. Lawrence play a similar type of game.
“There are a lot of teams who are going to come up here and come away with nothing.”
The Big Green skated out of an exciting, fast-paced first period with a tenuous 1-0 advantage, thanks to a power-play marker at the 10:32 mark.
As usual, Dartmouth’s dangerous first line found its way onto the scoring sheet, as Murray poked a rebound between the pipes for his fourth goal of the season.
The opening 20 minutes were even — each team had one power play, and the shots were 13-12 in favor of St. Lawrence — but a pair of good goaltending efforts limited the scoring to just one goal.
The netminders remained strong in the middle frame, but the teams combined for three hard-earned goals in just over three minutes early in the period.
At the 5:17 mark, the Saints tied it at one, as junior Ray DiLauro lined the puck from the blue line and had it carom off a Dartmouth defenseman for his first goal of the season. Anderson and Bartlett earned assists on the play.
Dartmouth reclaimed its one-goal lead minutes later, however, on Murray’s second of the night. Once again on the power play, Murray displayed an impressive individual effort, charging in from the boards and flipping the puck past Sean Coakley (28 saves) for a 2-1 lead.
The Big Green advantage was fleeting. At the 8:29 mark, left winger Gellard maneuvered from behind the net and beat Nick Boucher (29 saves) with a wraparound shot to knot the game at two goals apiece. Anderson and Bartlett again earned assists.
The game opened up in a third period that featured few stoppages of play. The teams combined for only 12 shots — Dartmouth took seven to St. Lawrence’s five — but several quality chances forced the goaltenders to make big saves under pressure.
Ditto for overtime. A tired Big Green squad kept the Saints on the perimeter, forcing the tie and putting a damper on St. Lawrence’s anniversary celebration.
The Big Green is back in action next Friday night when Union visits Thompson Arena, while St. Lawrence take on Colgate on Friday and Cornell on Saturday.