COLUMBUS, Ohio — For St. Lawrence, Christmas came a little early.
After trailing 2-1 at the end of the first, the Saints scored two goals in the second to take the lead over the Ohio State Buckeyes and held on through a back-and-forth, up-and-down game that ended in a 5-4 SLU win, only the sixth of the season for the defending ECAC champs.
Freshman Aaron Bogosian led SLU in scoring with a goal and two assists. Bogosian’s goal, the first of the night for SLU, was also the first of his career.
The win comes one night after St. Lawrence watched a two-goal lead become a 3-2 loss to Ohio State.
“I think at certain times we competed a little better, with more sense of urgency to things,” said St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh. “I think that’s always got to happen on the road. I’m particularly pleased [because] they went out and got a good start. It’s always tough to win on the road.”
Five different Saints — Bogosian, Jordan Hack, Jared Ross, Zach Miskovic and Casey Parenteau — tallied in the win, and John Hallas made 28 saves for his third win of the season. Hallas really earned his keep at the end of the third period, saving a point-blank shot on a Buckeyes’ two-on-one.
“I was happy for Johnny Hallas,” said Marsh. “He’s a fifth-year guy and he’s a walk-on, and he’s from Florida. How many goalies are from Florida? But he’s done a good job for us. He hung tough. He’s a pretty resilient kid and it doesn’t seem to faze him. They got four goals on him, but he seemed to be able to make a big save when we needed it.”
The Buckeyes scored the first goal of the game on the first shift of the game. Corey Toy threw the puck at the net from near the blue line and Corey Elkins directed it past Hallas on the glove side for the early Buckeyes lead at 1:07.
Bogosian responded for St. Lawrence at 12:46 on a goal that wasn’t called until play was stopped at 13:32. Bogosian, stationed to the right of the crease, took a pass from Hack across the front of the goalmouth and shot from point-blank range. OSU goaltender Joseph Palmer made the save, but the puck came back to Bogosian, who immediately popped it past Palmer to tie the game.
Except that the light didn’t go on. And nobody stopped. And the only one celebrating was Bogosian, who quickly jumped back into the play as Matt Generous dinged one off the left post before the whistle was blown with the puck frozen along the boards.
Referee Tim Kotyra took the opportunity to review the play and ruled that it was clearly a goal.
“All the guys that were there said, ‘That was definitely in, definitely in,’” said Marsh. “In our building, that wouldn’t have been a goal because we don’t have the review. And that was a huge goal. That was the kid’s first goal. I think the big thing for it is that he worked so hard to get the forecheck goal and came from nowhere. If anybody deserved the goal, it was him in that situation.”
The Buckeyes took the lead again at 18:20 on what began with a heads-up play by defenseman Shane Sims. Sims intercepted a Saints’ clearing attempt at the top of the slot, fired, and hit the post. The puck bounced left to Patrick Schafer, who one-timed it past Hallas for the 2-1 lead.
The second period belonged to St. Lawrence, as Hack scored at even strength and Ross scored on the power play. Hack’s goal at 2:30 was a thing of beauty, a well-placed shot from the bottom of the right circle that went up and over Palmer’s shoulder to catch the sliver of open net and the top shelf. Bogosian and Jared Keller assisted, with Keller banking the puck along the right wall to Hack behind the net, Hack touching out to Keller, and Keller tipping it back to Hack in the circle.
SLU’s go-ahead goal came at 15:36 after some good cycling by the Saints’ on a power play, with a noticeable falling off of defensive play by the Buckeyes. Shawn Fensel played the puck along the right boards to Generous, who rifled a cross-ice pass to Ross. Ross’s shot from the left point beat Palmer long and clean, giving the Saints a 3-2 lead after two.
Miskovic’s third of the season was the third unanswered St. Lawrence goal of the game, making it 4-2 at 2:15 in the third on a shorthanded play set up by Hack. Hack skated in on the left and shot from along the boards, hitting Miskovic to the right of the crease for the tip-in.
Four minutes later, John Dingle answered for the Buckeyes, but at 10:28, Parenteau took a pass from Kevin DeVergilio while breaking into the slot with a full head of steam and scored without breaking stride, padding the St. Lawrence lead to two goals again.
The Buckeyes poured it on in the third period, outshooting the Saints 17-7 in the stanza and garnering a power-play goal on Tommy Goebel’s blast from the bottom of the right circle at 12:39, but St. Lawrence held on for the 5-4 win.
“Obviously, disappointing,” said OSU coach John Markell of the loss, the seventh home disappointment for the Buckeyes, who have just one win to their name at Value City Arena.
“We have not played at home anything like we’re playing on the road, nothing like we’re playing on the road,” said Markell. “I don’t know if they just expect it to come to them at home.
“But to come away with one win before Christmas, it’s got to make some demands on you as a hockey player and what you’re playing for, the crest on the front of your sweater. Because they certainly play for it on the road where they get scared and they have to stick together. They get home, and it’s something, I don’t know.
“I have players playing well one night, and the next night, you know…I can understand it when they’re freshmen, but enough lessons learned. These kids have to learn how to play at home. Other teams get excited about coming playing here. Obviously we stole one last night and we were capable of maybe getting back and getting the tie tonight.”
“Specialty teams killed us,” said Markell. “A shorthanded goal against, and one-for-three on our power plays — I think it’s that in a nutshell.”
Next up for St. Lawrence (6-8-3, 2-4-2 ECAC) is a one-game, non-conference road trip to Vermont Dec. 15. Ohio State 5-12-1, 2-8-0 CCHA) will round out play before the holiday break with a two-game CCHA series in Fairbanks against the Alaska Nanooks, Dec. 14-15.