BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — St. Lawrence notched a 3-2 victory over Ferris State on the strength of a strong second half to spoil Ferris State’s home opener.
Despite a two-goal deficit early in the second period, the Saints were never out of the game and tallied the winning goal with seven minutes to play in the contest.
“Ferris really carried play in the first half of the game,” said St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel. “We weren’t ready for that pace. We’re physically a bigger team and that really showed as the game wore on.”
After a back-and-forth first period that saw chances for both teams, the Bulldogs struck first with Justin Buzzeo getting left open in the low slot to bury a one-timer.
The Bulldogs added to their lead just over a minute into the second period with a shorthanded goal from Justin DeMartino. Cory Kane had a breakaway chance, but SLU goalie Matt Weninger turned him away with the glove. However, Kane got the rebound and found DeMartino wide open at the top of the crease.
That was all the Bulldogs would get for the night.
“The two goals were bad breakdowns by us leaving the guy alone in front of the net,” said Carvel.
The Saints answered back two minutes later with freshman Drew Smolcynski making a big splash in his first collegiate game. Smolcynski cut the Bulldog lead to one after crashing the net and hammering a rebound past netminder Charles Williams.
The Saints’ resurgence continued late in the middle frame with a goal from Brian Ward to tie the game.
“It’s hard at home when you start hot and you start to crash,” said Bulldogs’ forward Andy Huff.
With the game tied, momentum was clearly going the Saints’ way in the third period.
Smolcynski potted his second of the night with another rebound goal to put the game away late in the third period.
Carvel was clearly impressed with the way the young forward and smallest player on the team was willing to head to the net.
Heading into Saturday night’s second game, both teams know they’ll need a more complete effort to take the win.
“We’ve got to do a full 60 minutes of that first period mentality and we’ll be fine,” said Huff. “They took a lot of penalties and we have to capitalize on them.”
The Bulldogs were held scoreless on five power-play opportunities.
“It was a realization that they [Ferris State] are a good hockey team and that they needed to step up,” said Carvel of his team’s second half. “Ferris is not going to change their game plan tomorrow night and we can’t come out complacent again.”