CANTON, N.Y. — Harvard exploded for three second-period goals, killed off ten St. Lawrence power plays, and held off a late Saint rally for a 4-3 ECACHL victory at Appleton Arena Saturday night.
The No. 14 Crimson gained a split of their North Country trip after a 4-3 loss at Clarkson on Friday and is now 7-3-1 overall and 6-3-0 in the ECACHL. The No. 12 Saints saw a ten-game home ice win streak snapped and are now 10-4-0 overall and 6-2-0 in league play.
Included in Harvard’s impressive penalty kill total were three second period five-on-three chances for the Saints. The Crimson also scored one power-play goal in five chances, a five-on-three of its own.
“We did not execute the way we have been on the power play,” said Saint coach Joe Marsh. “Part of that was due to Harvard’s penalty kill, which was very aggressive. They made us make some plays we didn’t want to make, but we also shot ourselves in the foot a few times as well.
“Harvard is a very talented team and you can’t give them the chances we gave them tonight. Justin Pesony didn’t see a lot of shots, but he did make some big saves, and there wasn’t much he could do on the Harvard goals. We had a couple of lapses in coverage and they converted.”
The Saints scored the only goal of a fast-paced first period when sophomore wing Mark Wallmann collected a rebound off the end boards and stuffed it back past Harvard goalie Justin Tobe at 13:01. It was the fourth goal of the year and second of the weekend for Wallmann.
Harvard had a big second period to take a 3-1 lead. Junior wing Steve Mandes tied it up from point blank range just 1:44 into the period on a feed from behind the net from Tyler Magura. The Crimson took the lead at 8:02 when Dan Murphy finished off a five-on-three Crimson power play with his eighth of the year.
The Crimson made it a 3-1 game at 15:49 as Harvard killed off a Saint five-on-three power play and turned a blocked SLU shot into an odd-man rush, which freshman wing Jimmy Fraser finished off with his first collegiate goal.
SLU had three five-on-three opportunities in the second period, but Harvard, with the help of 15 saves from Tobe, was able to kill all of them off.
Jon Pelle made it a 4-1 game 4:38 into the third period as he scored on a tip in of Peter Hafner’s shot. The Crimson kept the Saints in check with 19 more saves from Tobe until SLU scored two goals in the final 1:26.
Simon Watson scored his second of the year at 18:34 after Kyle Rank tapped a rebound out from in front of the net. Watson put one into the upper corner from the short slot. The Saints then pulled goaltender Pesony for an extra attacker, and Mike Zbriger scored his eighth of the year with 16 seconds to go to make it a one-goal game.
Pesony finished with 12 saves for the Saints while Tobe had 43 saves for the Crimson, which was outshot 46-16.
The Saints are now idle in ECACHL play until mid-January but will play in five non-league games between now and the Christmas holiday.
“We are in pretty good shape record-wise at this point,” said Marsh. “I think the fact we were able to come back a little at the end will give us a little boost going into next weekend’s home games with UNH and Lowell. We just want to keep building and give the younger guys more game experience before we head into the stretch run in the league.”