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Yale trounces St. Lawrence in ECAC quarterfinal opener

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The St. Lawrence University hockey team is fortunate that one game doesn’t make a playoff series.

After sweeping their first-round playoffs series against Colgate in convincing fashion, the Saints were vastly different in their quarterfinal opener against Yale on Friday night.

Senior captain Andrew Miller registered a four-point night, including two goals, as the Bulldogs routed St. Lawrence, 6-1, in Game 1 of an ECAC Hockey best-of-three series at Ingalls Rink.

The third-seeded Bulldogs (17-10-3) can finish off the sixth-seeded Saints (18-15-4) with a victory in Game 2 at 7 tonight at Yale.

Despite scoring the game’s first goal, the Saints were dominated by Yale throughout in being dealt their most lopsided loss of the season.

“This is the most embarrassing game of the year for us,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said.

“They capitalized on everything,” said Saints’ junior winger Greg Carey, the nation’s leader in goals and points, who was held scoreless for just the second time in the past 16 games.

“We had a bunch of defensive breakdowns, turnovers and we didn’t get enough shots on net. They didn’t turn over the puck, they got it deep, got pucks on net and they were rewarded for their work.”

After sophomore Tommy Thompson scored 7 minutes, 30 minutes into the game for a 1-0 St. Lawrence lead, Yale responded with six unanswered goals, including two in each of the three periods, to take control.

“We were completely outclassed tonight,” Carvel said. “I don’t why — I don’t why we weren’t ready to play at a high tempo against a team that we knew was going to play at a high tempo.”

“I think that lead was misleading, because we really didn’t do much of anything,” Saints assistant captain and defenseman George Hughes said of the early edge. “They dominated us for almost the whole game — they brought their game, but we didn’t. It’s frustrating, especially that we came out flat in a second-round playoff game like that.”

The Bulldogs out shot the Saints, 48-13 overall, as St. Lawrence managed only five shots in the opening period and only four each in the second and third.

“That’s pretty indicative of our effort,” Carvel said of his team.

“We had guys who almost decided that it was too hard, and they didn’t want to work to get possession of the puck,” Carvel added.

The Saints’ top line of Carey, Kyle Flanagan and Jeremy Wick — the highest scoring unit in the nation — generated only three shots on goal — with each limited to only one shot for the game.

“We can’t think too much about this — we’ve got another game (tonight),” Carey said. “We have to find a way to get pucks deep into their zone and get to the net, because it seemed to work for them.”

Miller’s linemates Jesse Root and Kenny Agostino each tallied a goal and two assists for the Bulldogs, who have won all three games against St. Lawrence this season.

St. Lawrence got off to an encouraging start when Thompson took a cross-ice pass from Hughes and beat goalie Jeff Malcolm with a shot from the right side of the net.

Yale then began its surge as Miller scored the tying goal at 10:40 by ripping a drive from the right point up high over Saints goalie Matt Weninger.

“Sometimes when you come out and play that way but they get the first goal, it can change the momentum,” Yale coach Keith Allain said. “What I’m most proud of was that it didn’t change the momentum at all, and that’s a testament to the character in that locker room. If you are going to be successful in our league, you have to handle adversity.”

Antoine Laganiere followed with the go-ahead tally as he stuffed in his own rebound from near the right goal post at 17:03 as Yale led 2-1.

The onslaught continued in the second.

Jesse Root blasted a drive from the top of the shot that deflected off Weninger and in at 13:22.

Freshman defenseman Ryan Obuchowski followed this up, whipping a cross-ice feed from Laganiere past Weninger at 18:58 for a 4-1 advantage.

Malcolm only needed to make 12 saves.

Weninger allowed four goals on 28 shots and was replaced by Kyle MacDonald to start the third. MacDonald gave way to David Grilk later in the period.

nNOTES: St. Lawrence skated with just five defensemen. ... No penalties were called over the first two periods. ... The Saints apparently scored to get within 6-2 in the third period, but after video review, the goal was waved off as officials ruled the puck had been kneed into the net. ... St. Lawrence was last beaten 6-1 in a playoff game by rival Clarkson in a 2002 quarterfinal game.

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