St. Lawrence rolls into second round
Saints win tourney opener for 13th consecutive time
CANTON, N.Y. -- Freshman Jeremiah Bunton scored on a sliding shot after the ball was knocked away from the goaltender to record his first career game-winning goal as St. Lawrence rolled past SUNY Maritime 4-0 in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA tournament on Saturday.
The Saints, who won their NCAA opener for the 13th consecutive time, improve to 17-0-1 on the season and will meet Western New England in the second round.
St. Lawrence, the top seed in the four-team first and second round pod being played at Western New England, recorded its 14th consecutive shutout with Saturday’s win. Bunton and sophomore Andrew Bednarsky supplied the goals, scoring two each, and senior goalkeeper Brian Abernethy made one save in 78:03 with junior backup Nate Goss-Woliner stopping two shots in the final 11 minutes. Abernethy improved his nation’s best goals against average to 0.12 and his save percentage, also the best in Division III, to .943 with his 16th win of the season.
“That was a very good effort across the board,” Saints coach Bob Durocher said. “We had some chances early and didn’t convert, but finished things off in the second half and scored some pretty goals. And, the other real positive in the game is that we were able to use everyone on the game roster and give them significant minutes. There wasn’t the slightest drop off when we substituted and we were able to keep the pressure on.”
St. Lawrence came out strong and dominated the first half, outshooting the Privateers 20-3, but SUNY Maritime goalie Michael Vanadia came up with some big saves and the Saints had one goal called back and another shot ring off the post. Brian Gilloran’s hard shot from just outside the keeper’s area hit the post and bounced wide 20:08 into the game and Sam DeMello had a goal waved off on a foul nine minutes later.
Bunton broke the scoring ice at 32:07 after Vanadia lost the ball in a collision with DeMello in the middle of the penalty area. DeMello was attempting to head the ball and Vanadia bounced the ball off his back and dropped it right in front of Bunton, who made a sliding shot which rocketed past Vanadia’s recovery attempt and a pair of Privateer defenders.
Bednarsky opened the floodgates in the second half as he scored just 2:47 in after DeMello turned back a SUNY Maritime clearing attempt. DeMello controlled the ball just inside the midfield line and sent a pass ahead to Bednarsky, who raced up the right side, beat a defender near the 18 and then fired the ball past an on-coming Vanadia and inside the near post for his third of the year.
Bednarsky made it a 3-0 game at 55:51 as he took a pass from junior forward Brian Gilloran, who had worked the ball across the top of the box. Bednarsky fired a hard shot along the ground inside the far post. Bunton then scored his second of the game on a pretty individual effort at 73:05, weaving down the left side through traffic before cutting to the middle and ripping a shot past Privateer backup goaltender John Dunne to complete the scoring.
St. Lawrence, which improved to 21-11-2 in NCAA tournament play during Durocher’s coaching tenure, finished with a 33-6 edge in total shots and a 18-3 advantage in shots on goal. The Saints had eight corner kicks to none for the Privateers, who received 10 saves from Vanadia in 59:57 and four from Dunne, who played the rest of the game.