CANTON, N.Y. — Junior defenseman Mike Madill scored the game’s first goal and set up the clinching empty-net goal as St. Lawrence won round one of the Battle of the North Country with a 3-1 ECAC victory over arch-rival Clarkson at sold-out Appleton Arena on Wednesday night.
St. Lawrence improves to 6-6-1 overall and 2-3-0 in the ECACHL with the win while Clarkson had a modest two-game unbeaten streak snapped, despite an outstanding night by junior goaltender Dustin Traylen, and is now 3-7-1 overall and 1-3-1 in the ECACHL.
The Saints broke the scoring ice 5:19 into the game as Madill’s shot from the point with the teams skating four-on-four got past Traylen, who was screened on the play. Traylen, who had a busy first period, kept the Saints from further scoring until 17:40 when sophomore center Max Taylor tipped a shot from the point by Matt Macdonald over Traylen’s shoulder for a 2-0 Saint lead and Taylor’s seventh goal of the year.
St. Lawrence outshot Clarkson 16-4 in the first period and two of the four Clarkson shots came on a power play in the final 1:30 of the period.
“The crowd, and particularly the noise from the student section really got us revved up,” said Saints coach Joe Marsh. “Clarkson came real close on the first rush and then we did a great job in our own end, both in blocking shots and in taking away shooting lanes. To hold a team like Clarkson to just two shots for most of the period is really an accomplishment.”
The Saints kept the pressure on in the second period, but Clarkson started to put on some pressure and finally broke through just after the Saints had killed off a two-man advantage by the Golden Knights. Freshman Steve Zalewski slammed home a rebound in a scramble in front of Saints goalie Mike McKenna with just 1:01 to go in the second period to make it a 2-1 game after two periods.
“We did a great job on the kill, but Clarkson made a good play down low and Zalewski put one home in traffic. Mike McKenna was terrific again tonight, and he really had some big saves in the second and third periods,” said Marsh.
The two teams played an even third period with the Saints killing off a Clarkson power play midway through. Clarkson pulled Traylen for the extra attacker with 1:01 to play and the Saints held off the pressure, finally putting the game away when Madill skated the puck out of the defensive zone and fed Adam Hogg for a tap-in empty netter with just three seconds to play.
Traylen finished with 38 saves for Clarkson, which cut the shot deficit with solid offensive showing in the second and third periods. McKenna earned his second career win over the Knights in five appearances with a 26-save night.