In the final home game of the regular season and on a day which celebrated the class of 2014, senior Mel Desrochers scored a power-play goal and set the program record for all-time goals by a defenseman with 26, as the St. Lawrence women's hockey team edged Rensselaer 3-2 at Appleton Arena.
With the win, the Saints finish the regular season 13-17-3 and 12-7-3 against league opponents. RPI falls to 10-20-3 overall and 6-14-2 in ECAC Hockey.
The Saints jumped out to a 1-0 lead five minutes into the first period on a goal by Kailee Heidersbach – her third of the Saints four-point weekend.
The play started with junior Kayla Raniwsky carrying the puck into the RPI zone along the right boards before pushing a pass ahead to Heidersbach on the circle. The sophomore, Park Ridge, Ill. Native, snapped a shot from the hashmarks through a defender and beat RPI netminder Kelly O'Brien high on the glove side to put the Saints on top 1-0.
At the 12:29 mark of the opening frame, Desrochers put the Saints up 2-0 with her record-setting tally. Fellow senior Rylee Smith kept the play alive when she corralled a loose puck at the left blue line and sent a cross-ice feed to Desrochers on the opposite circle. The Welland, Ontario native sent a shot into traffic in front and although O'Brien made the initial stop, the rebound deflected off an RPI skate and slid just under her right pad to send the Saints to the locker room with a two-goal advantage.
The teams would trade power-play goals in the second period, as RPI pulled within one six minutes in on a Madison Marzario power-play goal, as she beat St. Lawrence goaltender Carmen MacDonald with a hard slapshot from the circle. But just under two minutes later, Raniwsky put the Saints back on top by two goals with a flat-angle shot from the red line after she had cycled in the right corner with first-year Brooke Webster.
RPI scored the only goal in the third period with 23 seconds remaining on the power-play to pull within one at 3-2. After sustaining offensive pressure for more than a minute with Jenn Godin, Toni Sanders and Taylor Mahoney moving the puck around the top of the zone to spread out the St. Lawrence defenders, it was Mahoney who snapped a quick shot from the bottom of the right circle. MacDonald made the stop, but the rebound kicked back out to Mahoney who lifted the puck over the goaltender's right pad for the score.
Although the Engineers maintained their offensive pressure late in the third period and pulled O'Brien with just under two minutes remaining for the extra attacker, they were unable to get pucks through to MacDonald to net a game-tying goal. The Saints' netminder finished with 28 saves.
Desrochers, Smith and fellow tri-captain Dayle Wilkinson were honored on the ice following the game.
The Saints finished fifth in the ECAC Hockey standings and will travel to Quinnipiac for a best-of-three playoff series next weekend.