HAMDEN, Conn. — Kelly Sabatine and Rylee Smith scored 22 seconds apart in the final 1:34 to help St. Lawrence squeak by Quinnipiac 4-3.
The Saints took a 2-0 lead into the third period, but the Bobcats scored three straight in the third to take the lead. Breann Frykas scored back-to-back goals to tie the game before Regan Boulton put the Bobcats ahead.
With 2:23 left on the clock in the final period, St. Lawrence coach Chris Wells elected to pull Carmen MacDonald for the extra attacker.
“We fully expected them to push back,” Wells said. “The girls are comfortable with the goalie out and we were able to get one last week against Cornell, so we knew we could score.”
The Saints quickly jumped on the offensive as they controlled the play in the Bobcats’ end. A shot from Mel Desrochers never got through the mass of traffic in front of the Bobcats’ net, but came free just to the left of the net. Quinnipiac’s Victoria Vigilanti laid out to try to cover up the puck, but Smith swooped in and jammed the puck under Vigilanti’s pads to tie the game at 3-3.
Just 22 seconds later, Sabatine took control of the puck above the left circle and ripped a shot on net. The puck deflected and bounced under the glove of Vigilanti.
“We got a lucky bounce there and we got a special group in that locker room,” Wells said. “We’ve really come together over the last few months and we’ve been telling them that special things happen to special groups.”
St. Lawrence got on the board first with 1:35 left in the first period. Sabatine’s shot from the right circle rang off the left post and onto the stick of Karrell Emard at the left circle. Emard quickly wristed the puck into the gaping net as Vigilanti couldn’t react quick enough to the shot. The goal marked the 100th career point for Emard.
The Saints padded their lead in the second period on a power-play goal from Alley Bero. Brooke Fernandez connected with Bero at the left circle. Bero stepped up and blasted a shot that beat Vigilanti short side for the 2-0 lead.
The Bobcats began their comeback 2:13 into the third period on Frykas’s first of the night. A shot from Amanda Colin came free on the right side of the net where Frykas grabbed the puck. Frykas poked the puck through MacDonald’s pads to cut the lead in half.
Frykas added her second straight goal four minutes later on another rebound. Again, Frykas picked up the puck on the right side of the net and buried it in the back of the net to tie the score at 2-2.
Just under three minutes later, Boulton put the Bobcats ahead on the power play. Seconds into the advantage, Boulton’s blast from the left point beat MacDonald glove side for the 3-2 lead.
“We got three goals against this team in the first period the first time we played this team, so we knew we could get three,” Quinnipiac coach Rick Seeley said. “I thought the team came out [in the third period] and played really inspired hockey in the first nine minutes to get the lead and after that, I thought we eased up a little bit.”
Despite the third period comeback, the Saints’ offensive power proved too much for the Bobcats, specifically the line of Emard, Sabatine and Smith. Those three players alone account for nearly half of the SLU goals this season.
With just three games left in the regular season, St. Lawrence and Dartmouth are tied for the highly-coveted final home playoff spot.