CANTON, N.Y. — Senior center Erik Anderson returned to the lineup for the first time in six games Friday night and scored two goals and set up a third as St. Lawrence beat Union 6-3 in the first game of a best-of-three ECAC playoff series Friday night.
St. Lawrence, seeded second in the tournament, improves to 17-12-4 heading into Saturday night’s second game while the ninth-seeded Dutchmen dropped their third game this season and 11th straight to the Saints since February 1997 and are 12-17-4.
“We obviously got a big lift from having Erik back in the lineup,” Saints coach Joe Marsh said. “The power play looked as good as it has all season, and we might have had a couple more if Brandon Snee hadn’t come up big with some huge saves. Erik worked really hard on his rehabilitation, and scored a couple of really pretty and very big goals for us.
“It was a tough, competitive game and Union came at us hard, but I think our playoff experience showed a little bit tonight. We expect another battle Saturday night. … It’s far from over, although winning the first one is the way you want to start things out.”
The Saints broke out of the gate quickly as junior wing Robin Carruthers beat the Union defense to a bouncing puck and snapped a shot from a tough angle which snuck past Union goalie Brandon Snee inside the far post with the game just 1:08 old.
It went to 2-0 at 5:18 as Anderson celebrated his return to the lineup after missing five games with an ankle injury by scoring his 15th of the season on a five-on-three power play. Union cut the lead to 2-1 just seven seconds into its second power play chance of the game as Jeff Wilson redirected a shot from the point by Charles Simard past Saint goalie Jeremy Symington at 17:39.
Anderson scored his second of the night with the teams skating four on four at 15:05 of the second period, taking a pass from Gellard and putting a shot just under the crossbar, but Union cut it to 3-2 when Jordy Federko walked in and put a power play shot into the upper corner at 16:21 for his third goal of the year. The Saints offset that when Alan Fyfe one-timed a pass from Anderson past Snee on a power play at 18:01 to make it 4-2 after two periods.
The Saints made it a 5-2 game at 13:49 of the third when freshman defenseman Ryan Glenn cut into the slot and scored his third of the year, and while Union scored its third power-play goal of the night when Federko put back a rebound of a shot by Doug Christiansen at 15:49, sophomore center Jim Lorentz scored his fifth of the season to complete the scoring just 55 seconds later.
Snee finished with 34 saves for Union while Symington picked up his third win of the year over the Dutchmen with a 20-save night.