CANTON, N.Y. — Sophomore forward Kevin DeVergilio made a highlight-reel pass for one goal and scored on a spectacular move later in the second period to send St. Lawrence on its way to a 5-1 win over Colgate and a sweep of its best-of-three ECACHL quarterfinal series at Appleton Arena Saturday night.
St. Lawrence, now 22-12-2, moves on to Albany for the league semifinals next Friday and will play the lowest remaining seed following other quarterfinal series. The Saints won the series opener on Friday night 6-1.
Colgate, the tourney’s eighth seed, finishes its season 15-21-4.
The Saints will make their first appearance in the ECACHL semifinals since the 2000-01 season and their first appearance in Albany since the tournament moved to that venue following the 2001 season.
“We are obviously very pleased to have reached one of our goals … it has been a long time coming,” said Saint coach Joe Marsh. “Colgate gave us a good challenge tonight, but just when they seemed to be getting some momentum, DeVergilio made another one of his creative plays to swing it back our way.”
Graduate student Andrzej Sandrzyk ignited a three-goal Saint explosion 10:48 into the first period when he scored on a shorthanded breakaway. Sandrzyk stole the puck from a Colgate attacker near the Saint blue line and opened a gap on two Raider defenders as he broke into the Colgate zone. He made a quick move to his forehand as he approached Colgate goalie Justin Kowalkoski and snapped a shot into the upper corner off the crossbar to give the Saints the lead.
Kowalkoski started in place of Colgate junior Mark Dekanich, who was unable to play in the series due to an injured ankle. The junior, who was playing his 11th career game, made some big stops, but the Saints scored some classic goals to complete the series sweep.
Sophomore defenseman Jared Ross made it 2-0 with his fifth of the year as forward Brock McBride passed the puck back out to Ross from beside the net and Ross gunned a shot from the top of the circle which caught the upper left hand corner of the goal at 14:38.
DeVergilio then made a creative behind-the-back, no-look touch pass on a power play, setting up senior Max Taylor who was all alone at the side of the net on a power play at 18:01 with Taylor snapping his 12th of the season past Kowalkoski.
Jason Fredricks put Colgate on the board as he crashed the net with a delayed penalty on, and the sophomore defenseman tucked the puck between the legs of Saint goalie Alex Petizian at 12:35 to cut the lead to 3-1.
DeVergilio then made another highlight-reel play to put the Saints back up by three as he took a pass from freshman wing Alex Curran with the Saints making a line change, dashed toward the net and curled the puck around Kowalkoski for his eighth of the year at 17:34.
DeVergilio picked up his third point of the night when he and Taylor assisted on a goal by sophomore defenseman Shawn Fensel, who scored from the point right after a Saint faceoff win with 19 seconds to go in the second period.
“Kevin is an exceptionally talented player who is very creative with the puck,” said Marsh. “He makes plays that you just have to see to believe. He had an excellent weekend as did his linemates Max Taylor and Brock McBride.
“The series was just like our season … someone different stepped up each game. First Sandy makes the big play shorthanded and then DeVergilio’s line got into the act. And, it was another real solid effort by Alex Petizian in goal.”
Petizian, who won his 18th game of the season, came up with a couple of big saves in an early Colgate flurry in the third period to keep the Saints comfortably in front and seal the trip to the league semifinals.