Colgate's double-overtime win against RPI means St. Lawrence will play No. 2 Yale next week. It also means the No. 10, No. 11 and No. 12 seeds all advanced in the first round. The only "favored" team to win was No. 8 Quinnipiac over No. 9 Brown.
Below is the recap of SLU's 2-1 triumph over Princeton
Freshman goalie Matt Weninger had played in big games before. None was more important to St. Lawrence’s season than Sunday’s Game 3 against Princeton in its ECAC Hockey first-round series.
The Saints faced elimination with a loss or advancement to the quarterfinals next week with a win. The Saints advanced as Weninger stopped a career-high 48 shots in St. Lawrence’s 2-1 defeat of Princeton.
“It was just one of those games,” Weninger said. “From the first shot, the puck looked like a baseball tonight.”
Weninger’s play catapulted the Saints into the ECAC quarterfinals at No. 2 Yale next week for another best-of-three series. St. Lawrence defeated Yale in the last meeting at Appleton Arena. The Bulldogs defeated the Saints in their only meeting in New Haven, Conn.
St. Lawrence was swept in the regular season by Princeton. But after a 4-1 loss in Game 1 on Friday, the Saints responded with back-to-back wins to extend their season.
“For the most part, our guys weren’t panicky,” SLU coach Joe Marsh said. “It was a very good character win for our guys.”
The Saints again relied on their freshman class — ranked 13th nationally — to carry them past Princeton. The rookies scored all but one of the goals in the series.
“The freshman were certainly recognized this weekend,” Marsh said. “I thought everybody played hard.”
In Game 3, rookie Greg Carey netted his 21st of the year at 5 minutes, 27 seconds of the first. Classmate Kyle Essery pushed it to 2-0 on a power play at 10:11.
“Getting that early lead is huge,” Weninger said. “The guys believed we would win this.”
Princeton was forced to play more aggressive and pound Weninger with shots. The Tigers attempted 103 shots at net. St. Lawrence blocked 30 of them and Weninger stopped nearly every one on net. Only Derrick Pallis scored for Princeton at 12:57 of the second.
In the first period, Weninger thwarted 16 efforts. In the second, he stymied eight shots. He shined in the third, however, with 24 saves.
“He played outstanding,” Marsh said. “We played hard in front of him, and he had some good stops when he had to.”
Weninger hadn’t started a game prior to the series since Feb. 19 against Union. He was knocked out of that game after allowing four goals in two periods.
He came on for Robby Moss in Game 1 against Princeton after Moss allowed three goals in 30 minutes. Weninger surrendered just one more goal to the Tigers, earning him the start in Game 2. He won that with a 28-save effort.
“I hadn’t played for a while and when I had played, I hadn’t played well,” Weninger said. “In some ways, I was hoping for an opportunity. In some ways, I wasn’t because that would mean we were losing.”
Weninger had St. Lawrence’s season on his shoulders and delivered with 96 saves against Princeton in the three games, culminating in a career performance.
“I thought I played well Friday night and Saturday,” he said. “I did well enough to win. Everything went my way.”