CANTON, N.Y. — A seemingly comfortable three-goal third-period lead for Union over St. Lawrence suddenly turned into a one-goal game. And the Saints were pressing for the tying goal.
But they never got the equalizer Friday night. Goalie Kris Mayotte made two key stops after the Saints cut the Dutchmen’s lead, helping them hold on for a 4-3 ECAC victory at Appleton Arena.
The win proved costly for the Dutchmen (1-0 ECAC, 6-1-1 overall). Junior forward Joel Beal, the team’s co-leading scorer last season, suffered a left shoulder injury when he was hit from behind by Saints defenseman Jim Hakewill. That came seconds after forward Jordan Webb was hit from behind. Beal is doubtful for tonight’s game against Clarkson.
Jason Visser and Scott Seney scored early in the third period to give the Dutchmen a 4-1 advantage. But a power-play goal by T.J. Trevelyan off Mayotte’s glove at 10:15 ignited the Saints (0-1, 1-6-3). Sixty-three seconds later, Rich Peverley skated down the left wing and beat Mayotte with a wrist shot over the glove.
The Saints got two power plays after those goals and looked to tie the score.
“It’s a tough building to play in,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “They took the momentum, and they took it to us. We had to kill two penalties there. I give them a lot of credit, they were playing with a lot more energy at the end of the game than we were.
“I thought Kris Mayotte won the game for us down the stretch.”
Josh Anderson had two great chances. He made a spin move in the left circle to get away from a Union defender, but Mayotte stopped his shot.
On his next shift, Anderson was alone in front and fired a backhander. Mayotte quickly flicked out his glove and caught the puck.
“You’ve got to keep your composure in a situation like that,” Mayotte said. “They were coming out, and they had the fans into it. It’s no different than at your barn. Your job is to stop pucks, and you give your team a chance to win. Especially after giving up those two goals, it was good to get another chance and make a save.”
The line of center Seney, left wing Olivier Bouchard and right wing Jonathan Poirier continued their splendid play. They accounted for three goals and four assists.
Poirier, who hit the post twice earlier in the first period, gave the Dutchmen a 1-0 lead when his soft wrist shot from the slot handcuffed goalie Kevin Ackley and trickled into the net at 17:04.
“That’s the game of hockey, I guess,” Poirier said. “Just shoot it, and it’ll go in at one point.”
Poirier turned playmaker in the second period to help give Union a 2-0 lead. He centered a pass from the right-wing boards to Bouchard in the left circle, and the freshman forward ripped it past Ackley at 11:09.
The Saints cut the Dutchmen’s lead late in the second when John Zeiler came out of the left-wing corner and fired the puck over Mayotte’s glove.
Visser tipped a Bryan Campbell shot past Ackley on the power play at 1:22 of the third. Under two minutes later, Bouchard set up Seney for his team-leading eighth goal.
“Give them a lot of credit, they completely outworked us in the early going,” said Saints coach Joe Marsh, whose team is winless in nine straight. “They had a good game plan.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.