George Hughes stepped off the Saint bench, into the Harvard offensive zone and launched a bomb from just inside the blue line which lifted St. Lawrence University's hockey team to a 4-3 overtime victory at Harvard on Saturday night and a sweep of its ECAC weekend series.
The Saints, now 11-10-3 overall and 4-5-3 on the season, had their first four-point league weekend of the year and improved to 3-1-1 in their last four ECAC outings with the win, while Harvard drops to 5-13-1 overall and 3-11-0 in league play.
While the Saints never trailed in the game, Harvard refused to go away without a battle despite playing with a short lineup. The Crimson tied the game at 13:29 of the second and had a ton of chances to come out a winner with a big third period, but Matt Weninger and the Saint defense rose to the challenge. Weninger made 14 of his 27 saves in the final 20 minutes, got some help from the post and a big boost when Kyle Flanagan dove into the crease to block a shot with Weninger tangled in traffic.
SLU grabbed the early lead at 8:10 of the first period as Pat Doherty picked up a rebound of a shot by Pat Raley and put home his sixth of the season. It went to 2-0 on an extended extra attacker session just under two minutes later as the Saints worked a tic-tac-toe passing play with Weninger pulled while a delayed penalty was being called on the Crimson. Greg Carey scored his second of the weekend and 16th of the season from Kyle Flanagan and Jeremy Wick at 10:00 for the 2-0 lead.
It could have been an even bigger Saint lead as they pressured on the following power play, but Harvard with goalie Raphael Girard coming up big, was able to kill that penalty off and then got back in the game with a power play goal at 14:42 as freshman Jimmy Vesey scored his ninth of the season to make it a 2-1 game after one.
Harvard zipped into the Saint zone and tied it just 11 seconds into the second period as Vesey scored his 10th of the season, but the Saints regained the lead when Wick scored his third goal of the weekend from Flanagan and Justin Baker on a power play at 11:16. Harvard tied it one more time when Alex Fallstrom wristed a shot just under the crossbar after getting back his own rebound on a blocked shot at 13:29.
The third period was a shootout with the two teams combining for 28 shots on goal and Harvard had a chance to put it away when it was awarded a five on three power play with 2:48 to play. The Saints were able to kill that off and the two teams headed into overtime.
Weninger turned back and early rush and the Saints worked the puck into the Harvard end with Doherty taking it from Chris Martin and cutting to the net. While Girard took away Doherty's chance at a shot, the Saint forward passed it back to the on-rushing Hughes who one-timed his fourth of the season into the net for the overtime win and his third career goal against the Crimson.
Girard finished with 39 saves for Harvard while Weninger had 27 for the Saints who outshot the Crimson 43-30.