PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown and St. Lawrence skated to a sluggish 4-4 tie Friday night. The Saints overcame a 3-1 second period deficit, thanks in large part to another strong offensive showing from Rich Peverley, who had two goals and an assist.
Paul Esdale and Brent Robinson were the offensive providers for Brown. The Bears needed a mid third-period goal to tie it at four and salvage a point, despite a weak all-around effort on their home ice. Esdale scored the game-tier, and added an assist. Leading scorer Robinson, who now has 33 points, scored twice early for Brown.
St. Lawrence took advantage of several defensive letdowns by the Bears in their own end. The Saints won more than their share of individual battles, and seemed to take control of the game as it went on. They outshot Brown 41-30.
Down 3-1 in the second, freshman defenseman Mike Madill took advantage of a Brown lapse. He walked in from the left point and roofed it to cut the lead to one halfway through the second. Suddenly, the Saints were in pretty good shape, and took over control of the game from then on.
“I thought in the first we played tremendous,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “They responded in the second and we gave them a lot of life. We has some bad mental mistakes and gave them too many scoring chances.”
Peverley tied it up at 3-3 five minutes later, on one of St. Lawrence’s 16 shots in the period. He walked out from behind the net and beat Yann Danis low. Danis played well tonight, but was victimized by the Saints offense, which has lit the light 18 times in their last 3 games.
Freshman linemate John Zeiler assisted on that goal, and Peverley’s second goal of the night, which came 7:14 into the third and gave the Saints their first lead of the game. This time, the senior center snuck behind Brown’s defense and found himself on a clear break with Danis. Danis stopped the first one, but was unable to get in the way of Peverley’s second smack at it.
“The puck was rolling on the breakaway and I couldn’t get a good shot on net,” Peverley said. “But the rebound popped back to me and was able to get another shot off.”
Brown looked to be in serious trouble, down 4-3 and struggling to get any offense going. The Bears only got five shots on net in the third frame, but one of them went in. Last weekend, the Brown power play was completely unsuccessful. And up until their sixth and last chance of the night, the Brown unit struggled in this game as well. But the power play came up big tonight. Esdale fired in a one-timer from the center point to make it 4-4.
From that point on, it seemed like Brown was playing for the tie. St. Lawrence nearly missed avoiding going to overtime — but a rebound off a backhand shot with under five minutes to go bounced over some sticks to keep it all even. Danis was forced to come up with some big stops later in the third and in the five minute extra session.
“He’s a great goalie,” Peverley said. “You just have to go to the net hard on him. We really needed this point.”
The Bears got on the board first and controlled much of the action early on. The top line tallied at the end of a good shift, with Robinson scoring on a pass from behind the goal line that came from Chris Swon.
Zeiler scored a late first-period goal to make it 1-1 before the first intermission. The freshman now has 25 points.
In the second, sophomore Jarrett Robertson gave the Bears the lead (a first career goal) on a blistering slap shop off a two on one. Then Robinson put Brown up by two on a very similar goal to his first one. This time, Esdale made a great pass from behind the net, showing a great deal of patience, and Robinson fired it in to make it 3-1.
The Saints finish off the regular season at Harvard tomorrow night, and will need to fair well to hope to gain home-ice advantage. Brown stays at home and plays Clarkson, looking to avenge a 5-1 loss at Cheel earlier this season and hope to earn a playoff bye.
“I thought we started a little slow but came on strong tonight,” said St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh. “I was very happy with the effort tonight.”