A pair of goals from Kennedy Marchment and a shutout from Grace Harrison sealed a 4-0 win for St. Lawrence over Yale, sending SLU to the ECAC semifinals. Over the two-game series, St. Lawrence outscored Yale 8-1 and outshot them 55-33, but for Saints coach Chris Wells, the box scores don’t tell the whole story.
“Well, I just told them ‘This wasn’t as easy as the scoreboard looked,'” said Wells of his speech to the Saints after their victory. “I think we were able to weather the storm in the first period, they came out flying and Grace made some great saves.”
Eighteen, in fact, for the New Zealander, who picked up her ninth shutout of the season in the win, but, as most goalies do, Harrison credited her defense with as much of the success as herself.
“There was some bad rebound control on my part, so some really good defense on the part of my teammates,” Harrison admitted with a laugh. “But I think a lot of my success for shutouts has been a team success, in that we’ve played playoff hockey all year, blocking 30-40 percent of the shots, and it was probably higher today, so that makes it easier.”
While Harrison and the defense made sure Yale couldn’t score, Marchment and her linemates took care of the offense, picking up three goals and seven points as a group. Marchment picked up the first of two goals late in the first period for SLU on a power play, dangling through a pair of defenders and snapping a shot over the shoulder of Kyra O’Brien with 4:57 left in the period.
“Brooke made a nice play, since she knew I was in the middle of the ice, and I just tried to come in with speed, and got lucky,” said Marchment of her game-winner.
A broken zone entry for the Saints resulted in Marchment’s second goal, 5:36 into the second. Hannah Miller tried a drop pass from Brooke Webster high in the Yale end, but the puck deflected off a stick directly to Marchment, who caught O’Brien moving left-to-right with a low shot to put SLU up 2-0.
Webster and Justine Reyes scored 13 seconds apart, Webster on a quick shot from the outside while on a power play, and Reyes from the slot on the rush, to open a four-goal lead late in the second period, and the Saints stayed in control through the third to earn the sweep.
The Saints, picked to finish seventh in the ECAC preseason polls, now advance to the ECAC semifinals for the second year in a row, but outside noise hasn’t gotten to SLU so far this season.
“We tried not to get up in things like the polls, especially at the beginning of the year when we were picked seventh,” said Marchment of the mindset of her team throughout the year. “We just tried to go out and play our best, and it’s worked so far.”
For Yale, the season-ending loss was due to their struggles on the penalty kill, which allowed two goals on five attempts, but also to the penalties themselves for putting the Bulldogs at a disadvantage.
“I think we took some undisciplined penalties and paid for it, but five-on-five I thought it was a much better game for us than yesterday,” said Yale coach Joakim Flygh. “We had our opportunities early in the game to make a difference, but we didn’t, and then we kind of self-imploded in the second period.”
St. Lawrence will stay in the North Country, but travel to Clarkson to take on Cornell in the ECAC semifinals on Saturday.