RPI Blanks Saints 4-0
Senior wing Patrick Cullen tripled his season scoring in a span of less than five minutes in the second period as Rensselaer jumped on struggling St. Lawrence for four goals in 11:16 of the middle period and went on to a 4-0 win over the Saints in an ECAC Hockey game Friday night.
RPI, now 7-17-1 overall and 4-8-1 in league play avenged an earlier shutout loss in Canton as junior goalie Bryce Merriam made seven of his 19 saves in the third period to preserve the shutout. The Saints, now 8-14-3, 4-8-1, lost their third straight and are now 0-6-1 in league play since a 4-3 win over Harvard on Nov. 19.
The Engineers went into Friday's game riding a two-game road win streak with a sweep of Brown and Yale last weekend and winners of three of their last four. They improved to 7-17-1 overall and 4-8-1 in league play and moved into a tie with the Saints for 11th with nine points with Friday's win.
"We're struggling right now and perhaps at times trying a little too hard," said Saint associate head coach Mike Hurlbut. "We were pressuring them to start the second period and then things just fell apart. I thought the guys played better in the third period, but that was too big of a hole to climb out of."
Offense was at a premium in the first period as the two team mustered just ten shots on goal between them, RPI holding a 7-3 edge. Saint goalie Robby Moss made a couple of big saves on an early RPI power play chance while the best scoring opportunity for the Saints was a shot by Sean Logue which short hopped RPI goalie Bryce Merriam, but bounced just wide late in the period. Moss was making his first league start of the season and played well, but was a victim of a lack of support both offensively overall and defensively in the second period as Saint coverage mistakes contributed to RPI's big period.
The Saints came out buzzing to start the second period and had an early power play, but the power play fizzled and then the roof fell in on the Saints.
Mark McGowan walked out of the corner and picked up a loose puck deep in the Saint zone, feeding Patrick Cullen who buried his second of the year from point-blank range at 6:42 and the Engineers made it a 2-0 game just 1:18 later on the power play as Marty O'Grady tapped a rebound into the open net for his fifth of the year after a good initial save by Moss on Matt Tinordi. It went to 3-0 on another power play goal at 11:26 as CJ Lee was left uncovered in front of the Saint goal as Lee scored his fourth from Cullen and O'Grady. Sophomore defenseman Bo Dolan scored his first career goal to cap the big second period for the Engineers as he was alone at the hash marks and whistled a shot past Moss off a feed by Alex Angers-Goulet.
The Saints outshot RPI 7-4 in the third and forced Merriam to come up with a couple of big saves to protect his shutout.