SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — After giving a dominating effort in Friday’s 5-0 win over Clarkson, Union didn’t have the same energy level Saturday against St. Lawrence.
The 13th-ranked Saints jumped on the Dutchmen for an early goal, and smothered them the rest of the way for a 3-0 ECACHL victory that ended Union’s record-setting 11-game unbeaten streak at Messa Rink.
The Dutchmen (4-4-2 ECACHL, 11-9-4 overall) were 7-0-4 at home, their best start ever. Union’s overall four-game unbeaten streak was also snapped.
“[The home unbeaten streak] is something we took a lot of pride in,” Dutchmen co-captain Scott Seney said. “It [stinks] that it came to an end. We couldn’t defend our home ice tonight, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop. We’re going to try to keep that `L’ column as low as we can at home.”
Right from the opening faceoff, it was clear the Dutchmen were a step slower against the ECACHL-leading Saints (8-2-0, 14-7-1) than they were against the Golden Knights, when Union took a 2-0
lead in the first 2:33 of the game on Friday.
Just 1:24 into the contest, St. Lawrence took advantage of Union’s fatigue. Kyle Rank skated down the right wing as Union was changing lines. Mike Harr and T.J. Fox rushed from the bench to try and
catch Rank, but they couldn’t prevent him from putting a shot on goal. Goalie Kris Mayotte made the save, but the rebound went onto the stick of Kevin DeVergilio, who put it into the net.
“I thought we were tired tonight,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “We didn’t have our jump right from the start. They were just a little too spent. You have to give St. Lawrence credit. They’re the first-place team in our league for a reason.”
Even more evident of Union’s sluggish play was its failure to generate many chances on two five-on-three power plays, especially early in the third period, when it had a two-man advantage for 1:25. The Dutchmen managed just one shot on goal. Overall, Union was 0-for-8 on the power play.
“You could tell the fatigue when we got the power plays,” Leaman said. “Nothing was crisp tonight. We just made everything hard on ourselves, and they outworked us. We were just tired. They wanted it a little more, and we weren’t willing to pay the price in a lot of areas.”
Union did get some good scoring chances in the third period, but Saints goalie Justin Pesony turned them aside. Pesony finished the game with 18 saves to record his first shutout of the season.
The Saints put the game away with 4:56 left. Crisp passing by Mike Zbriger and T.J. Trevelyan led to Zach Miskovic’s goal on a one-timer from the right circle.
The win ended St. Lawrence’s three-game losing streak against Union at Messa. The Saints’ last win at Messa was Feb. 9, 2002, a 1-0 triumph.
“That might be the best game we’ve played in all three zones,” Saints coach Joe Marsh said. “We have tremendous respect for them. That’s obvious, because they’ve had our number for a while. There aren’t many guys that have won in this building.”
Mike Madill scored the Saints’ final goal, an empty-netter with 0.5 seconds remaining.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in