CANTON, N.Y. — Union has been proficient in scoring goals in the final minute of a period, and knowing how much of an impact they can have.
Saturday against St. Lawrence, the Dutchmen found out how those final-minute goals can change a game’s momentum. Unfortunately for them, it proved to be their undoing.
The Saints scored twice in the dying seconds of the second period to take a two-goal lead, seizing control of the game and rolling to a 7-3 ECACHL victory over the Dutchmen at Appleton Arena.
Stace Page had a hat trick and an assist for the Saints (7-5 ECACHL, 13-10-1 overall), who snapped a five-game losing streak to Union. Page had one of the two goals in the final minute.
The Dutchmen (7-6, 10-14-1), whose scoring drought ended at 167 minutes, 19 seconds, gave up five straight goals to the Saints after having a 2-1 lead. Union, which has lost four straight, dropped both games on the North Country trip for the first time since the 1998-99 season. The Dutchmen lost to Clarkson, 2-0, Friday.
“We’re a mentally fragile group right now,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “The guys are struggling with their poise with the puck right now. We’ve got to find ways to win. Right now, we’re finding ways to lose.”
Union has scored 12 times in the final minute of a period, three of which came with the goalie out for an extra attacker in the third period. The Dutchmen had allowed seven final-minute goals, all but one in coming in situations with the goalie out.
With the score tied at 2-2 late in the second, the Saints were on a two-man advantage. Just as a holding penalty to Union’s Sean Streich expired, Page scored his second goal of the game with 45.6 seconds left.
“We were fortunate on the five-on-three because the ice was making the puck jump up,” said Saints associate head coach Chris Wells, who ran the team in place of flu-ridden head coach Joe Marsh. “We got a nice little rebound goal.”
The Saints continued to pressure the Dutchmen, and it paid off with 1.4 seconds remaining when Drew Bagnall blasted a shot from the top of the slot off the left post and past goalie Kris Mayotte.
“It obviously hurt,” said Union captain Jordan Webb, whose first-period short-handed goal ended Union’s drought. “We didn’t come to play a full 60 minutes. [The score] 3-2 is a lot different than 4-2 going into the third.”
Justin Mrazek replaced Mayotte to start the third period, and gave up two goals in over a minute as the Saints pulled away early in the stanza. Page got his third goal when the puck hit Mrazek in the back and caromed into the net. Page then set up Max Taylor’s goal on a two-on-one break.
“We felt pretty good going into the third period,” Page said. “We felt like we had taken control of the game. The game was coming into our hands. We went out, and we were physical and we got it done.”
Notebook: T.J. Trevelyan and Simon Watson had the other St. Lawrence goals. … Union also got goals from defensemen Phil McDavitt and Streich. For Streich, it was his first career goal. … The Dutchmen had a goal waved off in the first period when Jason Visser was ruled to have kicked the puck into the net.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.