Midseason addition Alex Gilmour netted his fourth goal since joining St. Lawrence, and fellow rookies Carson Gicewicz and Ben Finkelstein chipped in to propel the No. 16 Saints over visiting Rensselaer by a score of 2-1 in an ECAC Hockey game Friday night.
Gilmour, who spent the first half of the 2016-17 season with the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the CCHL, committed late and joined SLU for the second half. He has been a welcome addition for the Saints, who have enjoyed his presence on the ice and in the locker room, something Gicewicz noted.
“He’s a really good kid, and all the guys have welcomed him,” said Gicewicz, who plays on a line with Gilmour. “He’s found his place, and obviously on the ice he’s performing really well right now.”
Gilmour’s goal came 4:26 into the second period after a scoreless opening frame. The Saints had extended offensive zone time, and with the puck at the point, Finkelstein fed Gilmour, who was coming in from the neutral zone. Gilmour fired a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff dot that beat Chase Perry cleanly.
“It was a nice feed across the blue line there, and I was debating whether to take a wrist shot or slap shot. I opened up there and I had the short side,” said Gilmour.
Riley Bourbonnais knotted the score 4:17 later, picking up a shot that deflected off SLU defender Mike Graham and flipping the puck past an outstretched Kyle Hayton. That was the only goal Hayton allowed, as he finished with 34 saves.
Late in the third period the Saints finally broke the tie. With 2:57 remaining, Gicewicz watched an Eric Sweetman shot drop near his stick.
“There was a little scramble, and I hit it with my backhand,” said the freshman from Orchard Park, N.Y. “It went off the post and I want to say it went off the back of the leg of the goalie and just rolled in.”
“They don’t ask how,” Gicewicz added with a laugh. “It felt good. Those were two points we really needed.”
Saints coach Mark Morris also spoke about the importance of the points and the rookies helping SLU earn them.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth in their games. There’s a keen awareness of their defensive responsibilities,” said Morris of the Finkelstein, Gicewicz and Gilmour.
Morris’ confidence in those players, particularly Finkelstein, was evident, as the rookie was on the ice in the defensive zone to end the game. All three are rewarding their coach with offensive production and sound defensive play.
The Saints have a crucial matchup against No. 5 Union looming Saturday.
For an RPI team that has struggled to win this season, the loss was tough to swallow, but coach Seth Appert has noticed a difference in his team since Christmas, and Friday was no different.
“Great college hockey game, all around,” said Appert. “Both teams played hard, great efforts, and both goalies were fantastic.”
“You expected (the game winner) to just be kind of a garbage goal, and it was. It wasn’t a 2-1 game because of a lack of offense. It was a 2-1 game because of a highly competitive defensive effort and great goaltending.”
ECAC Hockey roundup
No. 5 Union 6, Clarkson 2
Haralds Egle got Clarkson on the board first with a power-play goal, but Union had the next six tallies, and cruised to the win. Hobey Baker Award contender Mike Vecchione had three points.
No. 9 Harvard 4, Cornell 1
The Crimson picked up four third-period goals from four different scorers to beat the Big Red. Luke Esposito had a pair of helpers, while Lewis Zerter-Gossage had a goal and an assist. Merrick Madsen stopped 19 of 20 Cornell shots.
No. 17 Quinnipiac 5 Arizona State 2
Quinnipiac held a 4-0 lead early in the third period, and while the Sun Devils scored a pair in the final period, the Bobcats won easily. Chase Priskie had two power-play goals for Quinnipiac.
Yale 4, Brown 3
The Bulldogs scored three consecutive goals to dig themselves out of a 3-1 hole for the victory. John Hayden had two goals, including one on the power play.
Colgate 2, Dartmouth 1
Brett Corkey and Bobby McMann scored 1:29 apart, with the first intermission between, to lift the Raiders over Dartmouth. Kevin Neiley had the lone tally for the Big Green.