HOUGHTON, MICH. — Paul Cabana’s goal at 15:54 of the second period snapped a 2-2 tie and stood to be the game-winner as Michigan Tech defeated St. Lawrence on Friday night at MacInnes Arena.
St. Lawrence fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but had rallied to deadlock the game in the middle period.
“We had a little bit of down time during the first five minutes of the second period, but we fought through it,” said Michigan Tech head coach Mike Sertich. “[St. Lawrence] made a couple good plays to tie the game, and we made a good play to win it.”
Brett Engelhardt and Jaron Doetzel also scored for the Huskies (1-0-0), while defensemen Justin Brown and Ryan Lenton had two assists each. Brian Rogers made 23 saves to earn the win.
Russ Bartlett and Charlie Daniels scored for the Saints (0-1-1), while a sharp Kevin Ackley made 41 saves in his collegiate debut.
“I think they hammered us pretty good,” said St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh, whose team put Tech on the power play nine times. “Tough way to start. I kind of expected us to show a lot more discipline. We certainly saw a lot of penalty killing tonight.”
While SLU defenseman Jimmy Ball was serving an interference penalty, Engelhardt camped in front of the Saints’ net and redirected a Brown shot past Ackley for a 1-0 lead at 6:37 of the opening period.
Michigan Tech made it a 2-0 lead at the 14:11 mark when Jaron Doetzel tapped the puck past Ackley during a frantic scramble at the edge of the crease. Frank Werner and Lenton picked up the assists.
“I just saw Frank [Werner] and Robbie [Rankin] there,” commented Doetzel. “They were at the net and the puck was rolling around. They always say good things happen when you go to the net.”
The Saints came out flying and banging in the second period and got back into the game almost immediately. Just 29 seconds into the middle frame, Robin Carruthers made a nice pass from behind the net to the low slot, where Russ Bartlett easily beat Rogers.
Just after SLU had killed off another penalty to Ball midway through the period, Tech defenseman Tom Kaiman fired a shot that went through traffic and was deflected off the crossbar. The Saints came back down the ice where Charlie Daniels picked up the rebound from Allie Skelley’s shot and slid the puck past a sprawled out Rogers to even the score.
But the Saints still couldn’t stay out of the box and it cost them the game.
Seconds after a slashing penalty to SLU’s Rich Peverley had expired, Cabana took a pass from Justin Brown and ripped it past Ackley from the left circle.
“I just thought particularly that we were never able to sustain much,” said a disappointed Marsh. “Every time we got something going, we’re in the box.”
Although Marsh was thrilled with Ackley’s performance, he hinted that he would start another goaltender in Saturday’s rematch.
“He certainly played well enough to deserve the start,” said Marsh of his freshman netminder, “But I’ve got to get some different people a chance to play in these early games. We’ll see what we can do to respond. I think I expected a little bit more. I know we’re going to have to be patient. We made a lot of young mistakes and we really didn’t do the things we’re going to need to do to be successful.
“That’s clearly a loss that I have to take because we weren’t prepared.”
The two teams will meet again on Saturday night at 7:05 ET.
ICE CHIPS: Michigan Tech freshman forward and New York Islanders’ draft pick Bryan Perez left the game in the second period with a severe head laceration after SLU defenseman Jeremy Cormier rode him into the end boards. “It’s probably doubtful,” said Sertich on the chances of Perez playing on Saturday. “He had a very bad laceration on the scalp. Most likely he’ll probably have to sit tomorrow.”Friday night’s game was the first time that Michigan Tech has ever hosted an ECAC team