CANTON, N.Y. — Senior goaltender Dan Lombard made 37 saves and took a shutout into the final minute as Yale won its season opener, 2-1 over St. Lawrence on Friday night.
Yale, which won two exhibition games prior to Friday, took a 2-0 lead into the final 14 seconds, but the Saints spoiled Lombard’s shutout bid when senior Charlie Daniels tipped home his fifth goal of the season, off defenseman Ray DiLauro’s shot from the point with 13.4 seconds to play during an SLU six-on-five.
Sophomore Ryan Steeves scored the eventual game-winner for Yale, 1-0 both overall and in the ECAC, at 2:15 of the third period when he finished off a two-on-one break in front of Saint freshman goalie Mike McKenna.
St. Lawrence fell to 1-5 overall and 0-2 in the ECAC; four of the Saints’ five losses have been by a single goal.
Yale snapped a six-game (0-5-1) winless streak against St. Lawrence with its first win over the Saints since February of 1998. It was the third straight one-goal game between the two teams.
“We knew we were in for another battle and Yale played really well,” said Saint coach Joe Marsh. “Lombard was outstanding, but they didn’t let us get a forecheck going in the early part of the third period and when they got their second one, we were in trouble.
“The guys worked hard, and it was a good end-to-end game. We need to get a couple of bounces and then finish off our chances. Yale’s line of Deschenes, Higgins and Earl gave us fits, and Mike [McKenna] had to come up with some big saves against them.”
The two teams played a scoreless first period, but both goaltenders had to work hard to keep it that way. Lombard had 14 first-period saves, many of them coming on three Saint power plays in the final minute of the period. McKenna had only six saves, but one was a one-on-one stop against Mike Klema early in the period.
Yale freshman center Chris Higgins snapped the tie just 4:06 into the second period when he took a cross-crease pass from Nick Deschenes on a Yale power play and tucked it into the unguarded side of the Saint net before McKenna could get back across to make a save.
Yale dominated the early part of the third period and outshot the Saints 7-2 with Steeves’ early goal doubling the lead; the Saints turned up their forecheck and outshot the Elis 12-8 from the midpoint of the period on, but couldn’t crack Lombard until the waning seconds.