ALBANY, N.Y. — It may have been a consolation game with no postseason ramifications, but St. Lawrence and Brown played a hard-fought game nonetheless at Albany’s Times-Union Center on Saturday afternoon. The Bears persevered through an up-and-back contest, ultimately dispatching the Saints 3-0 in the final game of the season for each team.
Junior Harry Zolnierczyk scored and added an assist in a strong performance, with senior Aaron Volpatti potting the other goal for the Bears (13-20-4). Dan Rosen made 21 saves for his second career shutout, in his final collegiate appearance.
The consolation game is always a tough game to play, said Brown head coach Brendan Whittet. I’ve been in many of them as a coach, and it’s tough to get motivated for, honestly. But I thought our guys played very good hockey tonight. They came out and played very hard, and to their credit, they wanted to end their season with a win.
Senior Alex Petizian stopped 34 in the loss as the Saints (19-16-7) simply couldn’t breach the Brown defense.
A spirited first period saw 19 shots, numerous hits and four penalties, but no goals as the squads threw an evenly matched first round. Brown slapped 10 shots on Petizian, while Rosen made nine stops in Bruno’s net.
Zolnierczyk had a hand in a couple of near-goals for the Bears in the game’s 28th minute, first dangling around the defense only to poke the net into Petizian’s toe, then running a two-on-two breakout a moment later that had SLU scrambling. The Toronto-bred winger put a fright into the Saints three minutes after that as well, bolting past the defense and unloading a fierce wrister high on Petizian. The goaltender was up to the task, snaring the puck to the delight of the hundreds of Saints-backers in attendance.
David Brownschidle tried to out-wait St. Lawrence’s Derek Keller in a two-on-one, but Keller broke up the centering attempt to Jarred Smith to maintain the scoreless draw. Bruno forced the issue however, as Volpatti broke the defense and deked to the forehand with five and a half minutes remaining in the second period. The Bears’ leading goal-scorer went top-shelf with the shot, beating Petizian over the blocker for his 17th of the year.
Brown popped 11 more shots Petizian’s way in the second stanza, while the Saints mustered seven of their own.
Fratkin extended the Bears’ lead five minutes into the third, dancing through the Saints defenders and waltzing the puck right by Petizian for the 2-0 lead. Zolnierczyk was again a factor in the play, earning the lone assist on Fratkin’s seventh goal of the season.
Tri-captain Jordan Pietrus threatened to pile it on with a dozen minutes to go, but his salvo rang Petizian’s post and rebounded to the half-wall.
Brown controlled much of the third period, and even a Volpatti minor and 10-minute misconduct — setting a Brown record for penalty minutes in a season — couldn’t slow it down. With the teams skating four-on-four with barely three minutes to play, St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh elected to lift Petizian and go for the goal. Zolnierczyk had other ideas, icing the game with his goal with 3:08 to play.