CANTON, N.Y. — Senior defenseman Drew Bagnall put away his own rebound with 1:58 gone in overtime just after a Brown bid to win the game clanged off the post as St. Lawrence clinched an ECACHL playoff bye with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Bears at Appleton Arena Saturday night.
It took the Saints nearly 58 minutes and over 40 shots to finally get a puck past Brown freshman goalie Dan Rosen, but sophomore Kevin DeVergilio’s fourth of the season with just 2:42 to play in regulation pulled the Saints (17-11-2, 13-4-1 ECACHL) even and forced the overtime session.
Brown’s Jeff Prough nearly gave the upset-minded Bears the win when he raced into the Saint zone and snapped a shot toward net, but the puck caromed off the inside of the post and stayed out of the cage. The Saints collected the rebound and rushed up ice with senior Andrzej Sandrzyk feeding defenseman Bagnall, who skated hard to the net. While Rosen stopped Bagnall’s initial shot, the Saint captain tapped the rebound out of the air and over the sprawled goaltender to win the game.
The Saints, who lead the ECACHL with four games to play in the regular season, have an eight-point lead on fifth place Dartmouth with eight points remaining to be gained. The Saints swept Dartmouth in the regular season and head-to-head meetings are the initial tiebreaker.
“That was a character win for us,” said Saint coach Joe Marsh. “Rosen was playing exceptionally well in goal, and while we were playing hard and playing well, we simply couldn’t get anything past him. No one got down on themselves though, and we were able to pull it out at the end with the help of a couple of breaks.”
The Bears (9-11-5, 5-10-3 ECACHL) scored the only goal of a even first period as freshman center Sean McMonagle finished off a two-on-one rush with his first collegiate goal at 8:55. Brian McNary made a good pass to set McMonagle up at point-blank range in front of Saint goalie Alex Petizian, who could do nothing to prevent the goal.
The Saints had some great chances to pull even in the second period, but had to kill an early five-on-three power play by the Bears. Max Taylor had an empty net with Rosen caught out of position on a Saint power play, but couldn’t tap the puck in as a Brown defender tied him up before he could shoot. The Saints then peppered Rosen on a five-on-three of their own, but the Brown rookie kept it a 1-0 game, making 15 second period saves.
The Saints continued to pepper the Brown goalie in the third period, firing 20 shots on net, but it wasn’t until DeVergilio pounced on a loose puck in the short slot and tucked it inside the far post at 17:18 that the Saints could cash in. Brock McBride took an initial shot off a setup by Max Taylor and DeVergilio put away the rebound for just his third goal of the season to tie it.
Brown had one last chance to retake the lead in regulation, but Prough was stopped by Petizian just as the third period horn sounded. Petizian then made a big save on Devan Timberlake from point-blank range just 21 seconds into the overtime and Prough hit the post before Bagnall ended it with his sixth of the year.
“Brown has always given us fits and they certainly played well enough to win tonight,” said Marsh. “They are going to be a very dangerous team in the playoffs.”
Rosen finished with 46 saves for the Saints while Petizian had 23 for the Saints, earning his 13th win of the season.