CANTON, N.Y. — Freshman Brock McBride scored 4:28 into overtime to lift St. Lawrence to a 5-4 win over Brown and into the ECAC Hockey League quarterfinals in a wild final game of a best-of-three playoff series. McBride was credited with his sixth of the season when linemate Kevin DeVergilio’s shot went off his skate and past Brown goalie Adam D’Alba in a scramble in front of the Brown net to give the Saints a win in the third game of a best-of-three series for the first time in four tries.
Brown, 5-20-7, came up short in its bid to become the first 12th-seed to advance out of the first round since the ECACHL tournament went to a 12-team affair in 2003. The Bears gave it all they had, rallying from a 4-2 deficit in a frantic third period as Jeff Prough tied the game with just 3.3 seconds to go in regulation. .
“You have to give Brown a ton of credit,” said Saint coach Joe Marsh. “When we went up by two in the third they could have packed it in, but they kept right on battling and forced overtime. It was a great series and they made us work for everything we got.”
The third game win gave the Saints, 20-15-2, their 10th 20-win season under Marsh’s tutelage and they will play in the ECACHL quarterfinals for the third straight year, advancing to meet Harvard in Cambridge in a best of three series next weekend.
St. Lawrence took its first lead of the series other than the overtime game-winner in game one at 14:51 of the first period as grad student Simon Watson picked up a rebound of a shot by Jamie Parker and flipped it past a sprawled D’Alba. Watson’s goal, his third of the season, was the only goal of the first period as D’Alba continued to come up big for the Bears and made 16 first period stops.
D’Alba continued to star in the second period, making 20 more saves including a great pad save on Kyle Rank with 6:30 to play to keep it a one-goal game.
The scoreless second period was the lull before a scoring storm in the third. The two teams, which had combined for ten goals in the first two games of the series, scored seven in the third period of Sunday’s game. Brian McNary tied the game for Brown 2:54 into the period with a shot which glanced off Justin Pesony’s glove.
The Saints regained the lead at 7:51 when junior center Andrzej Sandrzyk scored his first of the year, but Brown tied it again under a minute later when Chris Poli tossed the puck in front and it glanced in off a skate for his fourth of the year at 8:47.
Saint scoring leader T.J. Trevelyan gave the Saints the lead at 11:03 when he put a rebound back past D’Alba for his 19th of the year at 11:03 and Mike Zbriger scored his 13th on a power play from Trevelyan at 12:35 to give the Saints a 4-2 lead.
Brown responded with a power play goal by Eric Slais at 14:16 to cut it to 4-3 and then pulled D’Alba for an extra attacker with 1:16 to go. The move paid off when Prough came out of the corner and wristed his 17th of the year under the crossbar with just 3.3 seconds to play to force the overtime period.
“Our veteran guys came through with some clutch plays,” Marsh said. “They wanted to make their last one at Appleton a win and certainly played a major role in making it happen. The young guys won it at the end, but the older guys put them in position to do it.”
D’Alba made six saves in the overtime to finish with 48 for the game and 153 in the three game series. Pesony had two overtime saves and finished with 29 for his 19th win of the year.