The St. Lawrence University women's hockey team battled back from a 2-0 deficit in the final :32 seconds of regulation to force overtime against Quinnipiac University on Saturday afternoon in game two of the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals in Hamden, CT. However, after two overtimes, Amanda Colin would win it for the Bobcats on a slick breakaway move, setting up a deciding game three tomorrow afternoon at 2:00pm.
The Bobcats (20-11-4) finished with a 60-59 advantage in shots on goal in the game, which lasted 100:58 the longest game in St. Lawrence women's hockey history. Carmen MacDonald was outstanding again in net, making a career-best 57 saves, while Victoria Vigilanti was equally brilliant for the home team, matching her 57 stops.
"That was an experience that's hard to explain. Both teams had great chances and each puck possession was a game within a game," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells, whose team saw its five-game winning streak in the ECAC Hockey Tournament come to an end. "When you are involved in these types of games, it is always nice to see a good goal win it. (Colin) made a fantastic play and finish to send this to a third game. It's a short turn-around for both teams, but we will both be ready."
The Bobcats seemed to have the game in hand, thanks to goals by Kristen Eklund and Colin in the first and second periods. Eklund scored at 10:57 of the first on a sharp angle shot that went off of MacDonald and in for her first goal of the season. Colin would then make it 2-0 at 15:52 of the second, banging home a rebound off a shot by Shelby Wignall.
St. Lawrence had several good bids throughout the game on Vigilanti, but it appeared they were going to be shutout as the game reached the final minute of regulation with Quinnipiac up 2-0. However, the drama was just beginning to unfold, as Rylee Smith cut the deficit to 2-1 at 19:28, re-directing a shot past Vigilanti off a feed from senior captain Kelly Sabatine.
The Saints would pull MacDonald for the extra attacker, and worked the puck into the offensive zone. With seconds ticking down, Amanda Boulier fed Mel Desrochers who fired a last-chance shot towards. The puck was again deflected by Smith past Vigilanti, tying the game with only 00:00.2 remaining, sending the game into overtime.
The first overtime belonged to MacDonald, as she made 15 saves to keep her team alive in search of a series sweep including robbing standout Kelly Babstock on several tries. However, it was St. Lawrence that had the better of the play in the second extra session, forcing Vigilanti to make 14 saves to send it to a third overtime. Kayla Sullivan and Smith had great chances to win it in the second OT, and rookie Abbey McRae had a chance with Vigilanti out of position but was unable to square up a shot.
Sullivan again had a great try from the top of the crease in the third overtime, but Vigilanti stopped the shot and didn't give up a rebound to keep Quinnipiac's season alive. On the ensuing shift, the puck was sent to Colin along the right boards and she worked in 1-on-1 with a Saints defender. A slick move through the slot eluded the defenseman, and Colin tucked the puck past a sprawled out MacDonald, giving Quinnipiac a thrilling 3-2 triple overtime win at 8:55 as the Bobcats poured onto the ice to celebrate.
Each team had one power play try, both failing to score, including a St. Lawrence advantage in the first overtime.
The Saints and Bobcats will meet for the right to play top-seeded Cornell in next weekend's ECAC Hockey Semifinals in Ithaca, NY, as the Big Red used a memorable comeback to sweep Colgate. Clarkson and Harvard have also advanced to the conference semis.