CANTON – St. Lawrence goalie Matt Weninger knows his team’s late-game pitfalls all too well.
Be it a goal he lets in due to an extra attacker, defensive breakdown or power play, Weninger seems to look behind him in the final five minutes or overtime to find a puck in the net.
It happened again to the Saints on Saturday against ECAC Hockey foe Yale. The Bulldogs and Saints skated to a 3-3 tie after Yale forward Clinton Bourbonais scored at 15 minutes, 41 seconds of the third period.
Weninger made 33 stops in a commendable effort. But it was the one goal let in late that haunted his performance.
“It’s kind of frustrating because it seems late in games we constantly are giving up a goal,” Weninger said. “You kind of wonder if it’s luck. It’s unfortunate they got that late one again.”
St. Lawrence (8-11-3 overall, 4-5-1 ECAC) has allowed 11 goals in the final five minutes or overtime this season, not including empty-netters. Of those, six either tied or were game-winners.
The Saints have been outscored 11-4 after the 15-minute mark of the third period this season. Yale (8-6-2, 5-3-1) is the latest to take a salvage a tie from what should have been an SLU win.
“I think we have to take out of this that we had that lead,” Weninger said. “We were certainly right there with them, if not the better team for the majority of the game.”
Indeed, the Saints played better for the first 55 minutes, 41 seconds. They scored just over 90 seconds into the game, scored twice more in the second period and killed off six of seven penalties.
Greg Carey, who had just four goals through 21 games after a season in which he netted 23, generated two scores and for the longest time appeared to be the difference in the game.
“I was just taking better shots,” Carey said. “They came hard at us, but I thought we played well enough to win. Our penalty kill played phenomenal.”
St. Lawrence built a 3-1 lead behind Peter Child’s goal just 1:38 into the first period and Carey’s pair in the second. The only goal Weninger allowed came with 1.6 seconds left in the first when Andrew Miller beat the buzzer.
Then, the Saints began their ill-fated march to the penalty box. St. Lawrence took five penalties in the second period, the last of which Kevin Peel used to pull Yale within a goal at 3-2.
“It’s the way games are being called now,” associate head coach Mike Hurlbut said. “We’ll look back at the end of the season and see which games we should have two points or lucky to have one or two points. When you’re up two goals in your own building, you expect to get a win out of it.”
Yale head coach Keith Allain was happy to escape with a tie. The Bulldogs hadn’t done anything but lose in Appleton Arena since the 2007-08 season.
“We were behind right from the second shift of the game,” Allain said. “I thought it was a hard-fought game and I was pleased with how were able to come back but disappointed we didn’t win.”
Yale and St. Lawrence each earned a point in the conference standings. The Bulldogs now sit alone in sixth place, while the Saints moved into a three-way tie for eighth with Dartmouth and Clarkson.
St. Lawrence hosts Brown at 4 p.m. today. The game was originally to be played on Friday, but inclement weather a power outages pushed it to this afternoon.