You just can’t call a game one way or the other, even if the last nine seconds are ticking down and you’re grabbing your jacket and heading for the door.
Don’t try to leave early, you may miss something huge, and that’s a lesson learned by the 10,556 folks at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester on Saturday night.
With nine seconds remaining on a 5-4 St. Lawrence lead, RIT’s Adam Hartley pounced on a rebound that sent the game into overtime. Fourteen seconds into the extra period, Adam Mitchell walked in on St. Lawrence’s Matt Weninger to put home the game-winner for the triumphant Tigers.
This, of course, led the Saints to their fourth straight loss out of the gate. With victory in their sights, a faceoff loss and a loose rebound changed their fate in less than the time it took to write that sentence about it.
Rensselaer knows all about late goals changing their situation.
Until eight seconds remained in their Saturday night game, Ferris State and RPI knew the contest could go either way. At the moment, RPI was raining down shots on Ferris State goalie C.J. Motte when Bulldogs forward Garrett Thompson got hold of the puck and sent it into the empty RPI net to win the game, 2-0, and put RPI at 1-3.
The only time a late goal worked out for an ECAC team this weekend was that same Saturday night. Colgate turned around a Friday night one-goal loss and picked up an overtime win to split the Raiders’ series against Miami in a 3-2 OT loss.
Miami’s Blake Coleman took a badly timed roughing penalty, and with one second left in the box, he witnessed Colgate’s Austin Mayer tip home a Corbin McPherson shot. He surely “felt shame,” in the words of Denis Lemieux.
Late, decisive goals were certainly a theme of this weekend, and they teach you a valuable lesson: don’t look away.
Just killing time
Clarkson looks like they are starting to pull together a fearful penalty kill. The Golden Knights went 10-for-13 in their first weekend and then kept Sacred Heart off the board this past weekend at 14-for-14.
The Knights gave the Pioneers plenty of chances to put home a power play goal, six the first night, eight the second. Paul Karpowich made a 23-save shutout for a 3-0 win Friday and then stopped 26 of 28 the next night in a 5-2 win.
Clarkson’s power play should also be praised for going 4-for-11 on the weekend, including a 3-for-7 showing Saturday night.
Back-to-back two-goal nights by senior Louke Oakley (including two power play goals of his own) should give him at least a nomination for Player of the Week. Junior defenseman Nik Pokulok had a strong weekend, including plenty of time on that vaunted penalty kill.
Getting away from the Dutchmen
Earlier in this column, we talked about not looking away to avoid losing a win.
Union was on the wrong end of that advice not once, but twice, this past weekend. They came away with a 2-2 and a 3-3 tie with Western Michigan. In both, they held leads into the third period they let slip away.
Jeremy Welsh was the best on the ice Saturday, scoring a hat trick (one of two by Jeremy’s in the league, as Quinnipiac’s Jeremy Langlois scored a natural hat trick a few hours earlier).
On Friday, a defensive breakdown cost Union its 2-1 lead when Greg Squires broke through for his second goal of the game and the eventual game-tying marker. The next night, Daniel Carr’s hitting from behind penalty put Western Michigan on the power play and Chase Balisy cashed in to ruin another Union lead.
So much of what happened with ECAC teams this weekend speaks volumes about the simple need to play a 60-minute game, to never let your guard down. Not even with nine seconds left.