CANTON — Even though it was only an exhibition, St. Lawrence University’s game against Carleton on Saturday night didn’t lack in intensity, or in heroics, either.
Greg Carey finished off a sharp cross-ice pass from Chris Martin 1 minute, 29 seconds into overtime as the Saints rallied for a 3-2 victory over Carleton at Appleton Arena.
“It feels great, whenever we’ve got a big crowd here at Appleton, we want to try and give them a show,” Carey said. “Anytime you win at home regardless of whether it’s regular season, playoffs or even preseason, it always feels good.”
Carey completed a 2-on-1 rush with Martin, who had gained possession of the puck along the wall and moved up ice before feeding the pass across to Carey, who buried a shot inside the near post for the deciding goal.
“Marty was just battling along the wall,” Carey said. “He just kept grinding and grinding away, I just hopped on the ice and went to support him, and he chipped the puck over and made a quick break, and then he made a great pass.”
The Saints, who open their regular season next weekend at Western Michigan, pulled out the victory after squandering a short lead in the third period.
“As a coach it’s great to see the team respond after that and play well like this,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “Going into the third period, we talked about finding ways to win and we did that.”
Held scoreless for the first two periods, St. Lawrence scored twice within a span of a 5 1/2 minutes to take its first lead of the game.
Martin tied the game when he moved in front of the goal and tipped defenseman Justin Baker’s shot past goalie Francis Dupuis at 8:43 of the third period.
Gunnar Hughes followed with the go-ahead goal by redirecting defenseman Pat Raley’s drive through Dupuis’s pads at 14:02.
“We lost to them last year, which was disappointing,” said senior captain Kyle Flanagan, who assisted on Martin’s tying goal. “We didn’t play the way we wanted to then, but I think we played well tonight.”
The lead was shortlived, however, as Carleton responded with the tying goal just 19 seconds later as Joe Pleckaitis finished off a quick rush up the ice by tucking the puck past senior goalie David Grilk at 14:21.
Grilk held the Ravens scoreless the rest of the way, including making a blocker save on Tyler Taylor’s bid with 3:50 remaining in regulation.
“I’m happy with the effort for our first game,” Carvel said. “For an exhibition game, we played pretty strong and executed our systems pretty well. We lost our focus a little bit late in the second period, but we found a way to get it done.
“I wanted to see us play for a whole 60 minutes and I think we came pretty close to that.”
While Carvel was pleased with the victory, he wasn’t happy with the way the Saints blew the lead in the third period.
“I thought we had a lot of chances, especially in the second period and their goalie made some good saves,” Carvel said. “It can be easy to get frustrated after two periods, but we hung in there and found a way to win.”
Grilk, who took over for starting goalie Matt Weninger after two periods, made 10 saves, including one in overtime, to help secure the win.
Weninger, a junior, stopped nine of 10 shots faced in the game’s first 40 minutes.
“Hopefully this leads to a big (opening) weekend for us,” Carey said. “Hopefully a win like this will give us some good confidence going forward for us.”
The Saints spend the first two weekends of their season on the road, with games at Western Michigan on Friday and Saturday and a pair at Maine on Oct. 19-20, before hosting Alabama-Huntsville for two games Nov. 2-3.