By CHRIS FITZ GERALD
CANTON A steady wave of sophomores from Colgate University proved to be too much for St. Lawrence on Friday night.
Ryan Johnston scored the deciding goal in the third period and fellow sophomore Tylor Spink contributed two goals as the Raiders turned back the Saints, 5-3 to record a rare win at Appleton Arena before a turnout of 1,963.
And while several St. Lawrence players credited Colgate with an all-around effort on both ends of the ice, it was clear to them that they were out worked on this night as they were dealt their first loss in conference play.
Youve got to give them credit, St. Lawrence team captain Kyle Essery said. They came out and worked harder from the get-go and we just couldnt match it.
The Saints (6-3-2, 2-1-2 ECAC Hockey) rallied to tie the game at 3-3 on senior defenseman Justin Bakers power-play goal with 30.5 seconds remaining in the second period.
That was huge to tie the game going into the third, but then we took a bad penalty, St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. Tonight was a bit of a step back for us ... but the bottom line is they out worked us.
Johnston followed with the game-winner five minutes and 18 seconds into the third as his drive rocketed off the left goal post and past goalie Matt Weninger for his first collegiate goal and a 4-3 lead for the Raiders (5-6-1, 3-2-0).
I think it was more of a fluke than anything, but Ill take it, Johnston said. Its just great to finally get that off my back.
Theyre a talented group, thats for sure, Colgate coach Don Vaughn said of his teams sophomore class, which has scored 23 of the Raiders 32 goals this season. Were a young team with 18 freshman and sophomores. The sophomore class last year as freshmen showed a lot of confidence. They play a lot of different situations for us, so it was a good effort.
St. Lawrence, which was outshot 14-7 in the final period and 30-21 for the game, didnt have an answer the rest of the way.
They won most of the battles and you could tell they were more structurally sound than we were tonight, Baker said. They just did what it took to win the game and we didnt.
Weninger stopped 25 of 29 shots faced for St. Lawrence, which had been unbeaten in its last five games (3-0-2).
Its only one loss, but I feel this is the only loss that we deserved, Carvel said. Tonight, I thought Colgate deserved to win, they just played quicker and harder and thats how they scored their goals.
Freshman Andrew Black added an empty-net tally for the Raiders.
Eric Mihalik made 18 saves, including seven in the third period, to record the win for Colgate.
We just dont win here very often, said Vaughn, whose team was swept by St. Lawrence in the first round of the playoffs last season. So any win here is a really nice win especially against a good team in a tough building to play in.
Sophomore Kevin Lough also scored a goal for the Red Raiders, who won for just the second time in its past 15 meetings against St. Lawrence and won for the first time in its last eight games in Canton.
This was definitely the first game of the season where I believe we were really out worked and we really deserved to not win that game, Baker said. Its really a lesson to come home after two weeks and put on a performance like that. Its disappointing.
Matt Carey scored his team-leading ninth goal in the first period for the Saints and Alex Hagen scored in the middle period.
Spink scored two goals within nearly four minutes in the second period to provide Colgate with its first lead of the night at 3-2, including a power-play tally on a blast from the left point at 8:31.
The Saints drew even with their first man-advantage goal of the game as Baker took a feed from Patrick Doherty, moved in and from the top of the crease fired the puck past Mihalik with 30.5 seconds left in the period.
The Saints will host Cornell at 7 p.m. tonight at Appleton Arena.
Weve got to learn, without question, Baker said. Tomorrow has got to be our strongest performance of the year. Weve got to clean up the things we werent happy with and come with more passion.
■ NOTES:Matt Carey now has four goals over his past two games and five over the last four games. Greg Carey extended his point streak to six games in which hes totaled 14 (4-10) points. ... The Saints are now 3-3-1 when scoring the first goal and are 1-3-2 in games in which they were tied entering the third period.