Saints' Third Period Comeback Bid Falls Short at Harvard

Five straight goals by No. 3 Harvard through the first and second period proved to be the difference as No. 20 St. Lawrence men's hockey fell 6-3 despite a comeback push in the third period on Saturday night in the regular season finale at Harvard.

The Saints, who clinched a first-round bye as the No. 4 seed in the upcoming ECAC Hockey playoffs, put together a strong effort in the third period and scored two special teams goals but the early deficit was too big to overcome.  

Joe SullivanMike Marnell and Carson Gicewicz scored for St. Lawrence while Kyle Hayton and Arthur Brey combined for 37 saves. Brey came in in relief of Hayton early in the second period and made 21 stops in 37:31 minutes played in his first appearance since a 2-1 win at Canisius on Jan. 7.

Nathan Krusko, Alexander Kerfoot, Jake Horton scored in the first for the Crimson and Ryan Donato scored two in the second, including on the power play to push the lead to 5-0.

It took just 14 seconds for the Saints to convert on a power play opportunity early in the third period when Joe Sullivan beat Harvard's Merrick Madsen when he buried the loose puck after it hit traffic in front.

Michael Ederer played it back to Gavin Bayreuther on the point, who ripped a shot towards the net. His shot hit traffic in front of the net with Sullivan drawing two Harvard defenders with him to screen Madsen. He tucked the puck inside the far post to cut Harvard's lead to 5-1.

At the 14:49 mark of the third, with the Saints 27 seconds into a penalty kill, Marnell forced a turnover in the left circle and beat Madsen with a quick shot for his second in as many games. It was the first shorthanded goal for St. Lawrence since the team's 7-2 win over Brown back on Nov. 19. That goal was also scored by Marnell as he leads the team with two shorthanded tallies this season.

The third goal came off the stick of Gicewicz with the Saints in transition. Jacob Pritchard pushed the puck into the slot in the offensive zone and the Orchard Park, N.Y. native came off the right wing, lunged forward and chipped a bouncing puck behind Madsen for the Saints third goal.

Harvard added an empty net goal with nine second remaining to push to the eventual 6-3 margin.

The Saints finish the regular season with a 16-11-7 overall record and a 12-6-4 mark in ECAC Hockey games. Harvard wins a share of the Cleary Cup title as they finished tied with Union, but will be the No. 1 seed for the ECAC Tournament via a tiebreaker.

St. Lawrence will await the results of the first round playoff series next weekend to determine its quarterfinal opponent.