CANTON — When St. Lawrence goalie Matt Weninger kicked out his pad to make one of his 19 saves late in the third period, the Appleton Arena cheers swelled to a roar on Friday.
When Weninger flicked another of Colgate’s efforts aside against an extra attacker, the crowd rose to its feet. And when the final horn sounded and the siren went off, all 1,712 fans gave the Saints a standing ovation.
What they witnessed was a complete effort and St. Lawrence’s fifth straight win, coming 3-2 against ECAC Hockey foe Colgate (17-11-3 overall, 11-7-1 ECAC Hockey). St. Lawrence (13-15-3, 9-9-1) is the only ECAC team to win five consecutive conference games this season.
It is the longest regular-season conference win streak for SLU since the 2006-07 season. That team was the last to play in the NCAA Tournament.
“If our team plays like that, it will be pretty tough to beat us,” Weninger said. “Tonight, to beat a team that’s ahead of us gives us the confidence to know that they were a good team and we were able to beat them.”
Now what seemed unthinkable less than a month ago has become a possibility. The Saints are just one win away from securing home ice in the playoffs.
“That’s a big thing we’re shooting for,” said SLU forward Kyle Flanagan, who had a goal and two assists against Colgate. “We love playing here.”
Flanagan was integral to St. Lawrence’s win. His poise on the power play helped St. Lawrence go 3-for-7 on the man advantage. His goal came at 8 minutes, 52 second of the first period.
“You can’t put a team on a power play that much and expect to win the game,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. “That was the difference in the game.”
Later, Flanagan led Greg Carey into the high slot with a perfect pass in traffic during another power play. Carey buried the shot and has now scored 10 goals in SLU’s last 12 games. It gave SLU a 2-0 edge at 17:34 of the first.
Flanagan again found Carey on SLU’s fourth power play. Carey fired a shot low and Justin Baker cleaned up the rebound for just his second goal of the year.
“We just had skill guys moving the puck and getting the puck to the net,” Carey said. “We knew what they were going to do on the kill and they were giving us some room at the top.”
St. Lawrence’s power play is operating at over 30 percent during the five-game streak. Meanwhile, SLU’s penalty kill is at 87 percent during the same stretch.
“The penalty kill has been getting a lot of attention, but our power play has been really good lately,” SLU associate head coach Mike Hurlbut said. “The guys have been working hard and contained a pretty high-powered Colgate offense.”
The Saints killed three of its four penalties against Colgate, including two early in the second period.
Austin Smith managed the only power-play goal for Colgate, which pulled the Raiders within 3-1 at the time. It was his nation-leading 33rd goal of the year.
Chris Wagner netted his 11th goal of the year at 15:01 of the third for Colgate.
The Saints endured nearly 90 seconds of an extra attacker, but Weninger stopped every late shot that came through.
“Tonight we had a good third period and a good hockey game,” Weninger said. “We’re on a good run.”
End of game
Justin Baker goal
Greg Carey goal
Kyle Flanagan goal