With a crucial two points on the line in the race for a first-round bye in the ECAC, Cornell scored three first-period goals, including two in 30 seconds and one with just 3.6 seconds left in the period, to drop St. Lawrence, 4-2.

Up until the 13:37 mark of the opening period, Kyle Hayton had kept the Big Red off the board, but Matt Buckles changed that, kicking off a torrid rush of Cornell offense that resulted in a pair of goals. Buckles stepped into a shot from outside the right faceoff dot that beat a screened Hayton to put Cornell up 1-0, and it took half a minute to double the lead.

After Hayton made the initial save on a Cornell shot, Beau Starrett drove the net hard and found the loose puck just outside the crease. He fired a quick shot over the top of Hayton’s blocker to double the lead.

“We knew it was going to be a battle, but we knew we needed to come right away, first period, with guns blazing and just take care of business for 60 minutes,” said Starrett, who helped make that happen. “After we scored the first goal, the next shift is always a huge shift.”

Then, with just 3.6 seconds left in the period, Mitch Vanderlaan netted his 11th of the season to stretch the Cornell lead to three goals entering the first intermission.

“It’s tough to come back from three goals down in this league, especially against a team like Cornell, so good defensively, and they were willing pay the price tonight more than we were,” said Saints assistant captain Ben Masella.

Despite the late goal, SLU didn’t roll over, picking up two goals quick goals around the middle of the second period to narrow the Cornell lead to a single goal after 40 minutes.

Masella got the first goal for SLU, beating a screened Mitch Gillam with a wrist shot from the high slot at the 10:06 mark of the second, and Joe Sullivan picked up his 10th goal of the season on a sharp-angled shot that beat Gillam high at the 12:01 mark, but that was all the offense SLU could muster against a defense that Cornell coach Mike Schafer praised for excellent shot blocking and staying upright, especially against SLU defensemen Gavin Bayreuther, who factored into the Saints’ second goal.

“Bayreuther has that ability to make you look silly if you go out there and get out of control; I thought the guys did a good job of getting in his lane but not selling out,” said Schafer after the win, which put Cornell in sole possession of third in the ECAC with three games remaining.

Cornell stretched its lead to two again early in the third when Jake Weidner’s shot from outside the left faceoff dot beat Hayton over the shoulder through a screen.

“That game kinda followed what we’ve been doing recently,” Schafer said. “We have strong starts, kind of take a bit of a break, and then, for the most part, finishing off the third.”

For the Saints, three goals was too large a margin to come back from, especially after the Weidner goal early in the third.

“We were just starting to gain momentum, and then that {third goal} happens, it just hard to dig out of that hole, especially against a big, strong team like Cornell,” said Saints coach Mark Morris. “We didn’t do ourselves any favors. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you, so you figure it out and compete harder.”

ECAC roundup

Dartmouth 5, at Brown 4
After trailing 2-0 early in the first, Dartmouth roared to life, scoring the next five goals of the game, including two power-play tallies, and held off a late Brown push, to win 5-4. Grant Opperman had a hat trick for the Big Green.

Rensselaer 4, Princeton 3
Riley Bourbonnais had a pair of goals as the Engineers downed a Princeton team that hadn’t lost in its last six contests. Chase Perry made 40 saves for RPI to earn his fifth win of the season.

Union 4, Quinnipiac 1
Three first-period goals in a span of 1:40 powered the Dutchmen to a 4-1 win over Quinnipiac. Mike Vecchione and Spencer Foo both had two points for Union.

Harvard 4, at Yale 2
Harvard netted the first three goals of the contest, scoring at even strength, on a power play, and short-handed to edge the Bulldogs in New Haven. Tyler Moy had a pair of goals for the Crimson, while John Hayden and Andrew Gaus tallied for Yale.

Clarkson 3, Colgate 0
Sam Vigneault recorded a hat trick for the Golden Knights, accounting for all the offense in the game, as Clarkson defeated Colgate 3-0 in Potsdam. Jake Kielly made 22 saves for the shutout.