Saints men's hockey erases early three-goal deficit but fall to Princeton in overtime, 5-4
Saturday, February 3, 2018 - 8:58 am

Mike Marnell, Carson Gicewicz and Keenan Suthers keyed an impressive comeback for the St. Lawrence men's hockey team, as the Saints fully erased a three-goal deficit to take a 4-3 lead midway through the second period, but the Saints ultimately fell to Princeton in overtime 5-4 on Friday night in Hobey Baker Rink.

It is the third overtime loss for the Saints in the last four conference weekends and fifth one-goal heartbreaker in the last seven games, as they drop to 6-19-2 overall and 2-12-2 in ECAC Hockey. The Tigers, powered by Ryan Kuffner's hat trick, improve to 9-10-3 overall with a 6-8-1 mark against conference teams.

The Saints found themselves in a 3-0 hole in the first half of the opening frame with two fluky goals and a power play tally for the Tigers.

The first came off the stick of Princeton's leading scorer Max Veronneau on the back post just 1:14 into the opening frame. Kuffner's first of the night eight seconds into the Tigers' first power play opportunity extended the lead to 2-0 at 6:48 and then Matt Nelson's snuck one through the pads of St. Lawrence netminder Arthur Brey at 8:06 for a 3-0 lead in favor of the home team.

After the third Tigers goal, head coach Mark Morris called a timeout so the Saints could regroup and momentum started to shift towards the Saints from then on.

At the 13:09 mark of the first period, Marnell buried his first of the night when he walked off the end boards and beat Princeton's Ryan Ferland with a wraparound under his left arm on the short side to cut the deficit to 3-1. Ryan Garvey picked up his first of two assists on the night on the play, as we flipped the puck out of the defensive zone to spring Marnell and linemate Michael Laidley on a rush.

Early in the second period, the Saints were issue two penalties on the same play – one a five-minute major to Joe Sullivan and the other a minor hooking call against Bo Hanson, giving Princeton a extended five-minute power play and two full minutes of 5-on-3.

St. Lawrence successfully killed both penalties and took control of the game for the next six minutes.

Fifty seconds after returning to full strength Suthers pulled the Saints within one with his first collegiate goal, tipping a shot from the point by Jake Stevens in the right circle to beat Ferland at 7:56.

Gicewicz, who also picked up an assist on the Suthers goal, helped the Saints come all the way back and tied the game on a flat angle backhand from the red line at 10:14, finishing off an attempt centering pass from Stevens that missed Ryan Lough in front but made its way through to the Orchard Park, New York native on the far post.

Two minutes later, Marnell ignited a sizeable number of Saints fans and alumni with this second of the night to give St. Lawrence its first lead. He and Garvey moved into the zone 2-on-1 and he bested Ferland bar down over his right shoulder to chase the Tigers' starter out of the net.

But the Saints lead lasted just over a minute and a half as Kuffner buried a shot off a draw for his second of the night at 13:47 to tie the game at 4-4.

The Saints finished the third period with 1:18 of power play time after backup goaltender Ben Halford was given a minor penalty for high-sticking after hitting Laidley in the face as he crashed the net. But St. Lawrence failed to convert in regulation or during the remaining 42 seconds to start the overtime period.

With just 44.2 seconds to play in the bonus frame, Kuffner completed his hat trick with a redirect on the back door from Max Veronneau and Joe Grabowski to sink the Saints, 5-4.

Princeton outshot the Saints 50-26 on Friday night and finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Saints went 0-for-4.

St. Lawrence's Brey finished with 45 saves, including 18 in both the first and second periods. Princeton starter Ryan Ferland gave up four goals on 10 shots and finished with six saves in just over 31 minutes played. Ben Halford stopped 16 in relief, including three in overtime.

The Saints will travel to Hamden, Connecticut to take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.