CANTON – St. Lawrence walked solemnly into the locker room following its 3-1 loss to No. 18 Michigan Tech in nonconference men’s hockey Saturday at Appleton Arena.
The room fell silent when associate head coach Mike Hurlbut walked in to address the team in a post-game speech. The Saints, themselves, had something to say, too.
“They outworked us. We only played for about ten minutes the whole game,” SLU forward Greg Carey said. “When you get outworked 10 minutes to 50 minutes, it’s clear who’s going to win the game. That’s what we told the coaches.”
Hurlbut agreed with the assessment. Michigan Tech (8-5-1 overall) came out dominating zone time against St. Lawrence (5-7-0). The Huskies took nine shots on net in the first frame, but didn’t score.
The second was different, at least on the scoreboard. The Huskies continued to control the puck and finally scored on its only power play of the period. Ryan Furne took a pass from Brett Olson in the slot and fired it high on SLU goalie Matt Weninger at 4 minutes, 52 seconds.
“It’s a 60-minute game and these guys know that,” Hurlbut said. “We’re surprised we couldn’t come up with a better effort on a home game. We looked like we were just waiting for them to hand it to us.”
Milos Gordic put the Huskies up 2-0 on an even-strength goal less than a minute after Furne’s tally. It proved to be the game-winner.
Michigan Tech perfectly executed what first-year head coach, Mel Pearson, had wanted coming in to Saturday’s game after dropping Friday’s contest, 3-2. Michigan Tech scored twice in the third period on Friday.
“I thought we played with a little bit more urgency tonight,” Pearson said. “I thought we finished the game well last night and continued that tonight.”
Hurlbut opted to use his only timeout following Gordic’s goal in hopes of squelching the momentum, and St. Lawrence put together a brief barrage on one of four power plays in the period.
Jordan Dewey finally scored for the Saints at 13:37 to make it 2-1 and spark some excitement into an otherwise uninspired effort.
“We didn’t play a full game today or yesterday,” Dewey said. “Today, it really came back to bite us.”
Michigan Tech added its final tally late in the second period when Tanner Kero flipped a puck over Weninger’s shoulder during a scramble in front of the crease. That, too, was what Pears instructed his team to do before the game.
“If you had a chance in tight, you had to go up top on (Weninger),” Pearson said. “You had to try to find loose pucks and second chance opportunities. That third goal turned out to be a big one.”
St. Lawrence squandered its last opportunity to climb back in the game in the third when it failed to score on another power play. The Saints went 1-for-6 on the man advantage on Saturday and finished the weekend with just one power-play goal in nine chances.
“We’re still trying to find our groove,” Carey said. “We’re trying to find what’s going to work and once we find it, we feel we have the talent to score on it.”
The loss came following a stretch where St. Lawrence won five of its last six games. Its Friday night win was its first against a ranked team this season and first nonconference win. The Saturday night loss, though, was still a disappointment.
“We believe we could beat that team two nights in a row,” Carey said. “They stole that one just because we didn’t show up to play.”