Essery, Weninger Pace Saints To Win over Michigan Tech
St. Lawrence University's hockey team didn't show many signs of the post-Thanksgiving blahs in its non-league meeting with 18th ranked Michigan Tech at Appleton Arena Friday night, but the coaches and some fans may have grabbed the Tums anyway after a thrilling finish to a 3-2 Saint victory.
Sophomore center Kyle Essery scored two goals and assisted on a third and goaltender Matt Weninger came through with a 33-save effort as the Saints won for just the seventh time since 1993 on the weekend following Thanksgiving. The Saints took a 3-0 lead into the third period, but it took more goaltending heroics from Weninger to hang on to the win as Michigan Tech scored a power play goal midway through the period and then tacked on an extra attacker goal with 13.1 seconds to go before the Saints could claim the win.
The Saints, who won their first non-league game of the year, improved to 5-6-0 overall and have won five of their last six after an 0-5 start. Michigan Tech falls to 7-5-1 overall and 1-4-0 in road contests this season.
"I thought we played a very solid two periods, but they were able to make it a cliffhanger at the end," said associate head coach Mike Hurlbut. "Wenny was outstanding again and made some tremendous saves with the game on the line. We got some timely goals and fortunately were able to weather the storm in the third period."
Essery staked the Saints to the lead midway through the first period as he finished off a two-on-one rush with freshman Chris Martin, tucking Martin's goalmouth pass past Huskie senior goaltender Josh Robinson at 10:03. Just over six minutes later Essery initiated an offensive rush which culminated in Martin's third goal in the last two games with defenseman Justin Baker setting the rookie wing up for a shot from close range at 16:20.
The Saints made it a 3-0 game at 8:39 of the second when Essery tipped Jacob Drewiske's shot and the puck caromed into the net off the leg of a MTU defender.
Weninger, who has been a key to the Saint streak in the last six games, had a huge third period to hold off a rally by the Huskies. He made 12 of his 33 saves in the final period, including several acrobatic ones to keep the Saints in front. Michigan Tech cut the Saint lead to 3-1 on a power play at 12:03 as senior center Brett Olson scored his fifth of the year on a goal mouth deflection, and Tech pulled to within one with an extra attacker goal in a scramble in front of Weninger by freshman Tanner Kero with 13.2 seconds to play, but the Saints were able to hold on for the win.
Robinson finished with 19 saves for Michigan Tech which outshot the Saints 15-3 in the third period and 35-22 for the game.