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Northeastern doubles up St. Lawrence in men’s hockey

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CANTON — For the second consecutive game, the St. Lawrence University hockey team started strong but again in the end couldn’t finish the deal.

Northeastern University scored two goals within a span of 48 seconds in the third period — with Zach Aston-Reese registering the deciding tally— and went on to turn back the Saints, 6-3 on Friday night in a nonconference game before a turnout of 1,833 at Appleton Arena.

A pair of back-to-back losses doesn’t make a season, yet it was the way that St. Lawrence squandered a chance to put away the Huskies (5-0) which didn’t sit well with Saints coach Greg Carvel.

“We’re very frustrated because we were ahead 2-0 and playing very well,” Carvel said. “I thought we really had control of the game, but then we fell asleep on a faceoff play which gave them life and we got away from our game plan too quickly.“

“The last couple games for the first 30 minutes we looked like a really good hockey team and for the last 30 we haven’t looked very good.”

For the second straight game, St. Lawrence (3-2) blew an early 2-0 lead as it had done in a 5-3 loss at Ferris State last Saturday.

“We’ve got some selfishness in our game that we’ve got to get rid of,” Carvel continued. “We’ve got young players that need to learn quicker than they have, but that’s a game where we were in control and by the end of the game we were completely out of control.”

On Friday, Northeastern, ranked No. 20 in the nation scored three consecutive goals to take a 3-2 advantage on Mike McMurtry’s unassisted goal 4:43 into the third period.

The Saints responded to draw even less at 3-3 than 2 1/2 minutes later on freshman Matt Carey’s first collegiate power-play goal at 4:43.

“Getting a power play goal was nice because we haven’t scored many so far and that pumped the guys up,” senior captain Kyle Essery said. “But we broke down again when they got that next goal and it just seemed like we couldn’t get the legs back under us. We just handed them the game pretty much in the last 10 minutes. It’s frustrating.”

The Saints’ fortunes then went south as Aston-Reese deflected a drive from the left point from defenseman Matt Benning past goalie Matt Weninger at 16:10.

“That was a really good job by their defenseman, he held the puck and made the play,” Carvel said. “ ... and that was also about us just losing coverage.”

Kevin Roy followed with his second goal of the game at 16:58 to provide the Huskies with a 5-3 advantage.

“I would say in previous years we may have folded and it would have been 4-0,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said of his team’s two-goal deficit. “I liked the way we battled and came back and found a way to win. I think we showed some resiliency and some character because they’re a good hockey team over there and are well coached.”

Northeastern goalie Clay Witt made 39 saves, including 14 in the final period, to keep the Saints at bay.

The Saints led 1-0 on freshman Drew Smolcynski’s goal 13:05 into the game and Alex Hagen followed with a power-play goal 5:04 into the second period.

The Huskies drew even at two on a pair of goals within a span of 2:04 later in the period as Ryan Belonger scored at 16:05 and Roy followed a power-play tally at 18:09.

“We lost the[defensive] assignment on their first goal and we did the same on the second goal,” Carvel said. “And in the third period, we just got outmuscled for pucks in our own zone and lost assignments. I’ve got to find a way to get these guys to play the right way for 60 minutes.”

Weninger finished with 16 saves to drop his second straight decision for St. Lawrence.

One positive sign for the Saints was their two power-play goals scored, which matched their total through their first four games this season.

“We’ve got to learn from this,” Matt Carey said. “We were up 2-0 and they came back ... and after we tied it up [at 3-3] we should have been firing it up even more, but we gave up those two goals. It’s tough to lose like this.”

St. Lawrence will host Northeastern at 7 tonight as part of the school’s hockey alumni night.

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