CANTON — The postgame mood improved for the St. Lawrence University men’s hockey team Saturday night, but the Saints still felt unsatisfied after skating to a 1-1 tie with Maine before 363 fans at SUNY Canton.
The Saints (3-12-2 overall) are still searching for their first win at SUNY Canton, which will be their home until Appleton Arena renovations are complete by mid-January. SLU is now 0-5-1 in home games.
“I liked our effort,” Saints coach Brent Brekke said. “Discipline, as a whole, was better. One thing I didn’t think we did a great job in the third period was manage pucks. We got outshot in the third period because we turned pucks over and gave it to them and they are a good team in transition. We didn’t make them go 200 feet to get to our net. Our effort, from start to finish, in both games I thought was good all weekend.”
SLU played from ahead for most of the game, something it had not done in Friday’s 5-2 loss to the Black Bears (8-5-3), and it was just the fourth time in 16 games the Saints had scored the first goal.
“We didn’t play well for the whole 60 minutes,” Maine coach Red Gendron said. “For that reason, we hung with it, but we’re not satisfied. I don’t think we came out playing the way we are capable of. We tried to stickhandle and make plays and turned the puck over a bunch of times. Our game is a grinding game. When we get the puck down low we are pretty good and make it hard on teams. When you don’t get it deep, you aren’t playing to your strengths.”
Jacob Nielson scored the only goal for SLU at 12 minutes, 45 seconds of the first period. It was his first goal of the season and fourth of his career.
“We had a good forecheck on their defense,” Nielson said. “I got the puck and just smacked it into the net. It was a good change of pace to keep the puck going and have it on our terms, not theirs.”
The scoring play began when Saints defenseman Bo Hanson kept the puck from leaving the offensive zone and got a pass off to Carson Dimoff, who was listed on the line sheet as SLU’s “extra skater”
Dimoff made a nice pass to Nielson who simply one-timed it with his stick to beat Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman.
“Bo made a nice read and I was fortunate enough to pick the puck up and saw Nielson was going to the net in my peripheral (vision),” Dimoff said, “so I just threw it over and it got a nice touch on his hands there.”
Maine was called for three penalties in the first period as the teams played even, with each taking eight shots.
SLU had a good chance to go up 2-0 at 9:30 of the second when Keenan Suthers skated in on a three-on-one breakaway. Suthers got a shot off that was saved by Swayman, but drew an interference penalty on Maine’s Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup.
Swayman later in the second period thwarted scoring chances by Suthers and Jordan Steinmetz.
Friday’s game was tied 1-1 after two periods and penalties hurt the Saints in the third as the Black Bears scored four goals to pull away.
This time Maine took penalties as the Black Bears drew two in the first 10 minutes of the final period. But the Saints managed just seven shots on goal in six power plays Saturday.
The Saints have connected on just eight of 65 power plays this season for a 12.3 percent success rate.
Maine tied the game after Alex Gilmour was called for hooking at 14:37 of the third period.
Tim Doherty was beside the net and scored off a pass from Mitchell Fossier just 25 seconds into the power play to tie the game for the Black Bears.
“It’s tough not to come away with a win, I thought we did some things well,” said Saints captain Dylan Woolf. “We have to find a way to get it done. We have to capitalize on special teams. I think we both played sound defense.”
Maine outshot the Saints 15-6 in the third period and 4-2 in overtime to finish with a 37-22 advantage.