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A night of hockey highs and lows

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CANTON — Sometimes a fortuitous bounce can decide a hockey game.

This was certainly the case for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Friday night against St. Lawrence University.

Senior captain C.J. Lee scored the deciding goal in overtime as the Engineers edged the Saints, 4-3, on Friday night at Appleton Arena to hand St. Lawrence its first loss in its past seven ECAC Hockey games.

Lee scored after RPI (11-11-5 overall, 6-6-3 conference) dumped the puck into the St. Lawrence end. The puck caromed off the end boards and right out in front of the net to Lee, who sent a shot past goalie Matt Weninger two minutes, 34 seconds into overtime.

“It was a real tough goal to lose on,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said.

“It was kind of a lucky play,” RPI coach Seth Appert said. “The real good thing that he (Lee) did, was he won a foot race. It was late in the game, C.J. had a ton of ice time tonight with the penalty kills. ... You’re 63 minutes into the game and he hustled his butt off to get himself in position to be in front of the net.”

The Saints were dealt their first setback since Jan. 11 despite scoring a season-high three power-play goals.

“Obviously Matt is upset, we all are,” St. Lawrence senior captain Kyle Flanagan said. “Bad bounces are going to happen and sometimes for you and sometimes they go against you.”

St. Lawrence also allowed a pair of man-advantage goals and nearly a third as Nick Bailen scored five seconds after an Engineer power play had expired to provide RPI with a 3-2 lead at 17:57 of the second period.

“Their third goal was basically a power-play goal,” said Carvel, whose team is now 4-1-2 over its past seven games. “So both teams basically scored three power-play goals. I thought we really worked to score ours, but I think their first two were goals that shouldn’t have found the net.”

Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, Greg Carey scored St. Lawrence’s third-power play of the night by finishing off a cross-ice feed from defenseman Justin Baker.

“That was a great goal,” Flanagan said of Carey, who scored his nation-leading 19th goal. “Our power-play is clicking, but we’ve got to score some five-on-five goals.”

But this time, the Saints (12-11-4, 5-6-4), who suffered their first loss in overtime this season, couldn’t complete another comeback bid.

“Our third period was real good,” Flanagan said. “But against some teams, you can’t wait. We had to battle back against Dartmouth and against Harvard and Cornell as well. We need to play 60 full minutes and I think that’s our main focus.”

Lee followed with the deciding goal for the Engineers.

Freshman goalie Jason Kasdorf made 27 saves, including 12 after the second period to secure the win for the Engineers, who have won five of its past six games.

St. Lawrence also missed a prime opportunity to at least move into a fourth-place with Union, which lost at Clarkson, 2-1 on Friday.

“We put ourselves in a good position in the second and third (periods),” Flanagan said. “But again, our first period wasn’t as good as we needed it to be. They had the momentum and more energy than us in the first and that’s something we’ve got to figure out.”

Instead, the Engineers, who won for the first time in St. Lawrence in four seasons, passed the Saints in the ECAC standings and moved into a three-way tie for fifth place with Clarkson and Princeton.

“It’s huge,” Lee said. “This is something for us to build off. We’ve been playing well lately and we kind of shot ourselves in the foot by taking too many penalties. But we found a way and this is a big win for us.”

By not securing at least a point, St. Lawrence slipped into eighth place, but still trail Union, which the Saints will host tonight, by two points.

“We can’t dwell on it,” Flanagan said. “We just have to come back with another strong effort.”

nNOTES: St. Lawrence is 2-1-4 in overtime decisions this season. ... Carey and Wick are both on six-game goal streaks. ... Baker registered his fourth multi-point game of the season. ... The Saints are 10-4-4 when scoring first and are 2-7 when trailing after two periods. … RPI, which last won at St. Lawrence in January 2009, will attempt to complete a rare north country sweep when it faces Clarkson tonight. ... RPI freshman winger Mark Miller, a Massena native, finished with one shot on goal.

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