CANTON, N.Y. — Junior wing Jordan Hack snapped a 3-3 tie with his fourth goal of the season with 6:18 to play and 15th-ranked St. Lawrence tacked on two more goals in the final 4:41 for a 6-3 win over Rensselaer Friday night, maintaining the Saints’ hold on first place in the ECACHL.
The Saints (18-11-2, 14-4-1 ECACHL) won their fourth straight and improved to 9-1-0 in ECACHL games at Appleton Arena. RPI falls to 9-15-7 overall and 5-10-4 in league play.
The Engineers got off to a great start as Oren Eizenman, who has been out of the lineup with injury problems, scored his sixth of the season just 41 seconds into the game. Andrei Uryadov threw the puck out in front and Eizenman was cutting in front of Saint goalie Alex Petizian, redirecting the pass past the Saint goaltender.
“That final score is pretty deceptive, because it was a lot closer game than a three-goal margin,” said Saints coach Joe Marsh. “We had our chances to break it open in the second period, but couldn’t cash in and RPI battled back to make a game of it. Our third and fourth lines gave us some good shifts in the third period and that helped us put it away at the end.”
The Saints gradually started to take over the period after RPI had taken the lead and established an early lead in shots on goal and finally tied it with just 23.1 seconds to play when captain Kyle Rank took a pass from freshman Sean Flanagan and rifled the puck by Engineer goalie Jordan Alford for his 12th of the season.
The goal was initially waved off as it was in and out quickly, but referee Peter Feola consulted the goal judge and his assistants and ultimately counted the goal to make it a 1-1 game after one period.
Junior wing Charlie Giffin, playing his first game since December 29 after sustaining a concussion in a win over Boston University, gave the Saints a 2-1 lead at 10:52 of the second period. Giffin cruised into the slot and Max Taylor found him with the puck. Giffin’s tumbling shot looped over the shoulder of Alford at 10:52 for his seventh of the year.
“Charlie had a pretty good week in practice and I thought he played very well tonight,” said Marsh. “He might be a little behind in conditioning because he hasn’t seen a lot of game action, but he certainly made some nice plays out there tonight.”
The Saints continued to dominate despite a spate of RPI power-play chances and made it a 3-1 game when Taylor snapped his 10th of the year in off the crossbar for an unassisted shorthanded goal at 18:26 of the third.
The Engineers got that one back on the power play at 19:10.3 as Kirk MacDonald scored his ninth of the year from point-blank range for just the third power-play goal in the last 71 chances against the Saints.
RPI tied the game at 5:48 of the third period as Petizian made a great save on a shot by Paul Kerins, but Eizenman was all alone in front and tapped the rebound into the empty net for his second of the night to make it 3-3.
Hack then put the Saints back in front for good at 13:42 as he sped down the slot and took a pass from linemate Mark Wallmann, sliding his fourth of the season past Engineer relief goaltender Mathias Lange.
Kevin DeVergilio made it a 5-3 game at 15:19 as he took a pass from Giffin to score his fifth of the year on a pretty backhand and senior Andrzej Sandrzyk scored his first of the season into the empty net with 1:33 to go in the game.