Johnson's goal in fourth quarter helps send St. Lawrence past No. 17 Union
St. Lawrence defeated No. 17 Union 4-3 at Hall-Leet Stadium on Saturday. Senior Mac Johnson scored the game-winning goal with 7:25 remaining in regulation off a pass from Garrett Gagne.
The Saints earned their third consecutive win to improve to 5-3, with credit going to the special teams groups, as they held Union to a 0-for-5 mark on its man-up tries, while St. Lawrence scored the game-winner on man-up (1-for-3). Union fell to 4-3 despite a 15-save performance by goaltender Stefan Basile.
"I thought it was a great team effort across the board," St. Lawrence head coach Mike Mahoney said. "It was everything that we expected from Union. Their goalie was terrific, and I thought Jack [Nuland] made some key saves, particularly in man-down situations."
St. Lawrence closed with narrow advantages in shots (31-25) and ground balls (25-22) and was nearly flawless in the transition game, completing 24 of 26 clears. Both teams were 5 of 10 on faceoffs.
Union scored the lone tally of the opening quarter with 2:02 left, as Rob Santangelo crossed a pass to Jonathan Andrews who beat Nuland for the 1-0 lead. Richard Gregory gave Union a 2-0 cushion 4:16 into the second quarter, attacking from behind the net with a low shot for his ninth of the season.
St. Lawrence responded with a key penalty kill before answering with back-to-back goals to tie the score at intermission. Cody Danforth had his initial shot saved by Basile, but was able to knock the rebound into the vacated net at 7:13 of the second quarter to bring the home team within one at 2-1. Junior Alden Frelinghuysen knotted the game at two only 1:20 later, rifling a shot on the run past the goalie's stick.
Basile closed the first half with 10 saves to keep his team in the contest, despite being outshot 13-4 in the second quarter. Nuland was also up to the task, as he stoned Union's leading scorer Nolan Stauffer from point-blank range.
Both teams continued to battle in the third quarter, with the Dutchmen regaining the lead at 3-2 at 6:36 of the stanza. Peter Griesinger fed Greg Mooney, who blitzed a shot past Nuland for the go-ahead goal. However, junior Pierson Fowler responded for St. Lawrence, bouncing a left-handed shot behind Basile to cap the third quarter scoring with 4:04 remaining. Fowler's sixth of the year sent the game to the fourth tied at three.
The Saints were able to kill off a 2:00 minute penalty against Fowler early in the fourth quarter to keep the game tied before they received a man-up try of their own on a slashing call against Union with 8:09 to play. The man-up unit went to work and cashed in with 7:25 to play, as Gagne fed Johnson just outside the crease for his 12th goal of the season to give St. Lawrence its first and only lead at 4-3.
St. Lawrence had to kill off another penalty with two minutes remaining before scooping up several key ground balls to keep the clock moving in the Union end of the field. A penalty against the Dutchmen with only 25 seconds left in regulation sealed the victory for the Scarlet and Brown.
Nuland earned the win with eight saves, while Josh Robinson led the Saints with five ground balls and four caused turnovers. Stephen Melia led the Union defense with four caused turnovers, while Kyle McQuiggan's four ground balls was a team-high.