NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Drew Bagnall helped St. Lawrence overcome a less than brilliant start in the Saint’s ECAC Hockey League game at Yale Friday night as Bagnall scored two goals and assisted on three others for a five-point night in a 6-4 Saint win.
The Saints headed into Friday’s game after a 19-day layoff since their sweep of Lake Superior State to conclude pre-holiday play. It looked like the layoff lasted an extra two minutes as Yale came out flying and scored two goals in the game’s first 1:39.
“Things certainly didn’t start the way we hoped they would,” said Saint coach Joe Marsh. “We really left Mike McKenna hung out to dry in the first couple of minutes and Yale capitalized. Fortunately we were able to settle down and we played a pretty solid game from the middle of the first period on.”
The Saints improved to 10-9-1 overall and pulled even at 4-4-0 in the ECACHL heading into Saturday’s game at Princeton. Yale is now 1-13-1 overall and 1-10 in the ECACHL.
Brad Mills scored the first 1:22 into the game as he was all alone at the post when Joe Zappala found him with the puck and Mills snapped his fourth of the year past Saint goalie Mike McKenna from point blank range. It went to 2- 0 just 17 seconds later when Nate Jackson scored from all alone in front on a rebound in a scramble as the Elis got four shots in succession on McKenna before finally scoring. It nearly went to 3-0 as Christian Jensen got behind the reeling Saint defense for a breakaway, but McKenna came out to challenge and Jensen’s shot went wide off the post.
The Saints settled down after the rough start and worked back into it with a pair of power-play goals, both by Bagnall. His first of the night and fourth of the season came on a shot from the center slot off a pass from Stace Page at 7:53. Bagnall tied it at 18:11 from the left point with a shot that beat Yale goalie Matt Modelski along the ice with Josh Anderson and Kyle Rank assisting on the play.
“I was very pleased with the power play and I thought both of our power play units did a great job creating chances and setting up screens. We scored three of our four from the point with screens in front and good, hard and accurate shots from the points,” said Marsh. “It is a good way to start the second half on the power play and it was a good road win to come away with.”
The Saints came out of a wild second period with a 5-4 lead after twice taking a lead only to have Yale come back to tie. Page scored his fifth of the year from the short slot on a power play 51 seconds into the period to give the Saints a 3-2 lead, but Yale came back with a power play goal of its own by Christian Jensen at 2:38 to tie it at 3-3. Page then scored his second of the night as he walked in alone on Modelski and beat him up high at 12:01, but Jensen answered that one with a power play rebound goal at 17:17 to make it 4- 4. The Saints needed only 14 seconds to regain the lead as Adam Hogg tipped a shot from the point by Matt Macdonald under the crossbar for his fourth of the season and the 5-4 lead.
The Saints controlled play in the third period, outshooting Yale 14-2 over the final 20 minutes, and added an insurance goal on a power play as Bagnall and Macdonald traded passes across the top of the power play umbrella before Macdonald snapped a shot just under the crossbar with 1:31 to play to make it a 6-4 final.
McKenna finished with 26 saves for the Saints for his ninth win of the season while Modelski finished with 39 stops for the Elis.