Mannella, Marnell lift Saints men's hockey to 3-2 win over Vermont
Saturday, December 30, 2017 - 8:59 am

Sophomore goaltender Daniel Mannella made 36 saves and Mike Marnell notched the game-winning goal in the third period to help the St. Lawrence men's hockey team start the second half with a 3-2 win over host Vermont in the Catamount Cup on Friday night. The win snaps a six-game losing streak for St. Lawrence.

The win is also the first for Mannella, who made just his third career start against the Catamounts on Friday. Fourteen of his 36 saves came in the third period, including four in the final minutes of play.

After giving up two early first period goals, the Saints battled back and scored three unanswered with one in each period off the sticks of Philip Alftberg, Jacob Pritchard and Marnell, respectively. For Alftberg, his power play tally was the first goal of his collegiate career.

Pritchard finished with a goal and an assist, while Jake Stevens recorded a pair of helpers in the win.

Vermont got on the board first with a power play goal from Alex Esposito at the 8:24 mark. With just five seconds remaining in the Cats first power play of the game, Esposito one-timed a pass from Liam Coughlin in the slot and beat Mannella along the ice.

Six minutes later, Jarrid Privitera extended the lead to 2-0 for Vermont when he tipped a shot from Rob Darrar as he was cutting through the slot at 14:30.

Alftberg and the Saints answered just over a minute later, when he buried a rebound from the bottom of the left circle. Vermont's Stefanos Lekkas made the initial save on a shot from Stevens that was tipped by Pritchard on the way through traffic, but Alftberg was there to cut the deficit to 2-1.

In the second period, both teams had goal calls reversed. For the Saints, Carson Gicewicz appeared to have tied the game at 2-2 but after a lengthy review, officials overturned the call.

With time winding down in the middle frame and still trailing by one, the Saints finally got a bounce. A centering pass from Pritchard on a rush hit a skate in front and skipped in behind Lekas to tie the game at the 18:52 mark with the teams skating four aside.

Seconds later, it appeared that UVM had taken the lead with another power play goal, but officials overturned the call and the game remained tied. The Cats made a push in an attempt to take the lead again in the final seconds of the second, but Mannella made arguably his biggest save of the game on a 2-on-0, shutting down Vermont's leading scorer Ross Colton just before the horn.

In the middle of third period, Marnell buried his second of the season and first since returning from injury off a feed from Joe Sullivan in front to put the Saints in front for good, 3-2. Ben Finkelstein also assisted on the play, earning his first point in his hometown rink.

Vermont pulled Lekas with 1:30 to play and kept the Saints pinned in their defensive zone with the extra attacker during that time, but Alex Gilmour, Nolan Gluchowski and Sullivan each blocked a shot in a flurry before Mannella iced it with one final save.

Vermont finished with a 38-23 edge in shots.

With the win, St. Lawrence improves to 2-14-1 on the year, while Vermont falls to 4-11-3. Lekas finished with 20 saves for the Catamounts in the loss.

The Saints will face UMass Lowell in their second Catamount Cup game on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.