St. Lawrence University junior Alley Bero put the finishing touches on a dramatic victory for Saints' women's hockey team on Friday night, as the Akwesasne, NY native scored the decisive goal with 38.7 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Scarlet and Brown a 2-1 win over McGill University in their annual exhibition game at Appleton Arena.
The game proved to be a battle of special teams, as the two teams combined for 54 minutes of penalties. All three goals were scored on the power play, including the game-winner which came on a 5-on-3 try.
"That was without a doubt one of the wildest games I've ever been a part of," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells. "As one of the most disciplined teams each of the past two seasons, we cannot afford to be giving a team 16 power play chances. But I'm happy with the resilience of our team as we found a way to win."
McGill owned a 9-7 advantage in shots on goal in the first period, but graduate student Maxie Weisz kept the Martlets off the scoreboard. Taylor Salisbury was up to the task on the opposite end of the rink, as she made seven first period saves for the visitors.
St. Lawrence would open the scoring at 8:06 on a 5-on-3 power play with Weisz on the bench for an extra attacker. The gamble by Coach Wells paid off, as the 6-on-3 try allowed junior Vanessa Emond to slip a wrist shot behind Salisbury for the 1-0 advantage. Senior Lauren Brozowski was credited with an assist on the goal.
The Martlets would waste little time in responding, however, as they evened the scoring at 1-1 a mere 2:35 later. While skating on a power play, Leslie Oles pounced on a rebound in front of Weisz and slipped it through her leg pads and slowly across the goal line to even the scoring at 10:41, capping the second period scoring.
Both teams had fantastic scoring chances throughout the frame, but McGill was unable to solve first-year goalie Caitlyn Lahonen, who replaced Weisz after the Martlet goal. Lahonen made 11 big saves including six while her team skated short-handed. Meanwhile, Salisbury was also sound in her crease, as she made several saves including a breakaway stop on sophomore Brooke Fernandez to keep the game tied.
The key moment in the game came in the second half of the third period, as St. Lawrence was called for six consecutive penalties, including four in a span of 1:54. The Scarlet and Brown's penalty killing unit, backstopped by Lahonen, were able to kill off each of the six power plays, giving the home team the momentum in the final minutes.
McGill's fortunes changed at the 19:00 minute mark of the third, as Jasmine Sheehan and Leslie Oles were called for minor penalties on the same shift, giving St. Lawrence a 5-on-3 try before facing overtime. The Saints took advantage, as Fernandez blasted a shot from the point that Salisbury saved, but the rebound found Emond to the right of the net. Emond quickly slid the puck into the crease, and with the goalie out of position, Bero was there to finish the play and allow her team to celebrate a 2-1 victory.
St. Lawrence closed with a 25-24 advantage in shots on goal. Lahonen was credited with the victory after making 13 saves, while Weisz made 10 stops as well. Salisbury suffered the loss despite making 23 saves. McGill finished 1-of-16 on the power play, while St. Lawrence was 2-of-10 with the extra skater.
The Saints will open the 2010-2011 schedule next weekend on the road, as they head to Providence, RI and Storrs, CT to face Hockey East foes Providence College and UConn. The Saints face the Friars in the season opener on Saturday, October 9 at 2:00pm, then follow against the Huskies on Sunday, October 10 at 1:00pm.