St. Lawrence tops Quinnipiac

St. Lawrence tops Quinnipiac

HAMDEN, Conn. -- Kayla Nielsen scored two goals and added an assist, and Justine Reyes became the 22nd player in program history to score 50 career goals, to lead the St. Lawrence University women's hockey team to a 5-4 win over Quinnipiac in an ECAC Hockey contest in Hamden, Connecticut, on Saturday afternoon.

The Saints built a 5-2 lead through two periods, but Quinnipiac scored twice in the final 5:08, including an extra attacker goal with two seconds to play, to cut margin of victory to one.

Grace Harrison made a season-high 40 saves in the victory for the Saints, who were outshot 44-20.

"We had a big response from our team today after an emotionally and physically draining game last night at Princeton," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells '92. "We had some great bounces and some very pretty goals that made the difference. Quinnipiac had plenty of jump and really took it to us in spots, but Grace made some key saves and we scored some very timely goals. We're leaving Connecticut with two points that will be very important this last month!"

Quinnipiac took a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game when Sarah Coutu-Godbout was left alone with a wide open net after a shot by Kenzie Prater was deflected right to her off a defender in front of the net.

The Saints tied the score less than two minutes later when Amanda Butterfield flipped a shot from the point through a crowd right into the top right corner. Kayla Nielsen picked up an assist on the play.

Nielsen gave the Saints a 2-1 lead with four minutes to play in the first period, intercepting a wayward pass right in the slot and firing the puck into the left side for her fourth goal in the last seven games.

The Bobcats once again scored first in the second period, with Brooke Bonsteel taking a quick shot off a pass that Laura Lundblad backhanded from behind the Saints cage into the short side.

But the Saints once again responded quickly, retaking the lead 56 seconds later off a blast by Justine Reyes on a 3-on-1 break. Kayla Vespa fed Reyes the puck from right to left, and Reyes one-timed her shot into the top left corner to become the 22nd player in St. Lawrence women's hockey program history to score 50 career goals.

Nielsen gave the Saints a two-goal lead three minutes late with her second goal of the game. Maggie McLaughlin's wraparound attempt was stopped by Quinnipiac goaltender Abbie Ives, but Nielsen was able to dive and sweep the puck into the net.

Claire Dudley's first career goal gave the Saints a 5-2 lead on a bang-bang play, with Nadine Edney sending a cross-ice pass to Reyes, who immediately sent it back across the ice to Dudley, whose wrist shot from the right faceoff dot beat Ives and hit the back of the net.

Quinnipiac's third goal came on a power play, with Kenzie Lancaster sending a cross ice pass that deflected off Randi Marcon and into the net, and the Bobcats added an extra attacker goal late in the game, with Lexie Adzija scoring on her own rebound with just two seconds remaining.

Ives stopped 15 shots for Quinnipiac.

The Saints' five goals scored are is the most for St. Lawrence against Quinnipiace since St. Lawrence defeated the Bobcats 6-2 on February 13, 2009, and the nine combined goals are the most in a St. Lawrence/Quinnipiac game since the Saints beat the Bobcats 9-1 on February 23, 2008.

With the win, the Saints improved to 13-12-3 overall, 8-6-2 in ECAC Hockey, while Quinnipiac fell to 9-16-3, 6-9-1. St. Lawrence moved up to fifth place in the conference standings with six games to play. The Saints are four points behind fourth-place Colgate; the top four teams in the final standings will host quarterfinal series in the ECAC Hockey tournament.

St. Lawrence returns home next weekend, hosting 10th-ranked Colgate on Friday and No. 6 Cornell on Saturday.