CANTON, N.Y. — The St. Lawrence Saints scored three times in the third period to take a 4-2 victory over visiting Rensselaer, moving four points ahead of the Engineers in the ECAC standings.
Rich Peverley had a goal and three assists, including the empty-netter to seal the win. The Saints (7-14-4, 4-7-2 ECAC) move into an eighth-place tie with Vermont and Colgate while the Engineers (8-17-2, 2-9-2 ECAC) remain winless in the ECAC on the road and are now in 11th.
The Engineers held a 2-1 lead heading into the third period but the Saints turned that into a tie 2:16 in. John Zeiler found a rebound at the far hashmark and put it over Kevin Kurk to tie the game.
With a delayed penalty coming up on the Engineers, the Saints scored the winning goal. Matt MacDonald sent it in from the blue line, where it bounced off Peverley and onto the stick of Josh Anderson. Anderson deflected it past the outstretched glove of Kurk to give the Saints the lead, 3-2, before Peverley’s empty-net goal sealed the win.
“We definitely had the energy and the momentum going into the third period,” said Saint coach Joe Marsh. “We had a couple of good shifts to start it and we were able to bury one and from that point on, it was one of the best periods we’ve played all year long.”
“In the third we had a couple of shifts where we let down,” said Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “When you have those breakdowns you have to weather the storm and that’s one thing I don’t think we did well, holding the fort.
“They came out real fired up and we knew they were going to be, what we have to do is remained composed and that’s where experience comes in. You know you’re on the road, they’re going to come hard at you and you just don’t get rattled. Experience and that will sort itself out.”
The Engineers had held the 2-1 lead on two Ben Barr power-play goals late in the second period. Barr found the short-side on both goals, each from a different side of Saint goalie Mike McKenna. But the Engineers could have had more goals by that point if not for McKenna. McKenna stopped 21 shots in the first two periods, and in the second stood tall on two breakaways.
“You’re left scratching your head, wondering how we can be in this situation, like after the second period. How can we be up only 2-1?” said Fridgen. “We clearly misfired on some opportunities and when you’re not scoring goals, you can’t do that when opportunities are the name of the game.”
“I thought we played okay and they got those late power plays in the second period,” said Marsh. “They had some great chances and they were going hard. Hey, they’re a good team, but we skated with them and McKenna played an exceptionally strong game. You have to give him a lot of credit.”
The Saints had the 1-0 lead in the second period with a power-play goal of their own. With the Engineers late in changing, the 15-second faceoff rule caught them. A clean Blair Clarance faceoff win with no Engineer in the circle went to Peverley, who quickly sent it to Lorentz for a blistering slapshot over the shoulder of Kurk.
“We didn’t capitalize when we were 2-1 in the third period and then we relaxed for two minutes,” said Fridgen. “What can you say? I thought we played well enough to win — it shouldn’t have even been close, but give their guy credit, he played big in the pipes, but clearly we missed opportunities and we misfired. When you’re not scoring goals and you can’t hold a lead, it’s going to come back and bite you.”
The Engineers will head to Clarkson on Saturday evening to take on the Golden Knights while the Saints will host Union.
“We’ve started seeing some positive things and seeing the fruits of our labor. We’re 5-3-3 in the last 11 and they’re seeing rewards for their efforts and that’s all you can ask,” said Marsh. “It’s more important to win this way than to win 6-1. It’s nice for the crowd to win 6-1, but I don’t see us as that type of team right now. We have to play hard and the margin of error for our team is small; that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
“We play hard and we’ll bring our best to the rink.”