On a snowy night in Canton, the smaller than usual number of fans who made the trek to Appleton Arena were rewarded with an incredibly entertaining game that saw St. Lawrence score an upset win, 4-3 in overtime, handing Quinnipiac its first league loss of the season.
It was a relatively tame first period, with no goals and an even seven shots and one power play per team, but the second and third periods ramped up the intensity.
St. Lawrence got on the board first at the 7:24 mark of the middle frame. Mike Laidley scored his first of two goals in the game off a strong drive through the slot. He picked up the puck on the wall and cut to the middle, skated through the slot, and beat Michael Garteig with a low shot on the far side.
It took the Bobcats only 20 seconds to respond as Soren Jonzzon tipped a Chase Priskie shot past Kyle Hayton to knot the game at one.
With less than two minutes to go in the second period, a Saints power play provided them with a chance to take a lead into the locker room. Brian Ward found Gavin Bayreuther with a pass from below the goal line, and Bayreuther fired home his eighth goal of the season from the slot with 1:24 to play in the second.
St. Lawrence opened the third on a power play with a great chance to open a two-goal lead, but instead, it was the Bobcats who scored, as Travis St. Denis tipped a pass from Devon Toews past Hayton on a short-handed rush.
It took SLU just half a minute to take the lead again on Mike Laidley’s second goal of the night.
“I just walked in and took a shot short side,” said Laidley.
Once again, Quinnipiac’s resiliency showed as 28 seconds later, Sam Anas tied the game at three. A Landon Smith pass found Anas open in the left faceoff circle and he lifted the puck past Hayton’s outstretched arm just 1:40 into the third.
After that scoring flurry, no goals would come in the final period and the teams again headed to overtime. Unlike last time, a 0-0 tie and a game where Brian Ward came inches from scoring what was likely the game-winner, the Saints captain would not be denied. A broken play in front of the net saw a shot bounce off bodies and sticks and careen past Garteig’s leg at the 1:33 mark of overtime, giving SLU the win.
After the loss, Rand Pecknold had little to say regarding the game.
“I’m not allowed to comment on officiating, so I’ve got no comment because I don’t want to get myself in trouble.”
Pecknold had an issue with a play on the game-winning goal, and his frustrations boiled over on the ice after the game, when he refused to allow his team to participate in a handshake line.
The mood on the St. Lawrence side was more upbeat.
“Obviously, when you play the number one team in the country you bring your best,” said Carvel. “Tonight we did. We had 20 guys who played hard and it’s a big, big win for us.”
“We knew they were going to come out hard, so we had to come out and match it,” said Laidley. “We did and it feels great to hand them their first (league) loss.”
“Obviously it’s huge,” said Drew Smolcynski on the win. Smolcynski was initially credited with the OT winner, but it was changed to Ward after.
“Going down there and tying them and then beating them here is definitely indicative of the caliber of team that we are, and hopefully we can make a push here.”
SLU hosts Princeton tomorrow while Quinnipiac heads to Clarkson.