CANTON -- The venerable confines of Appleton Arena were friendly to St. Lawrence University's men's hockey team in a game with Colgate University again Friday night and the Saints are a game up in the best of three ECAC Hockey playoff series with the Raiders as a result.
Gunnar Hughes and Jeremy Wick scored goals just 45 seconds apart in the final minute of the first period to stake the Saitns to a 3-0 lead and the Saints held off a late Colgate charge to win game one of the ECAC Hockey first round playoff series between the two teams 4-2 at Appleton.
The Saints won for the first time in five games as a sixth seed in the tournament and improve to 17-14-4 going into Saturday's game two with the 11th-seeded Raiders, now 14-17-4.
The series is a best of three with a third game Sunday night if needed. The Saints are now unbeaten in their last six against Colgate at Appleton and are 11-1-2 against the Raiders in their last 14.
They are also 3-0-0 in ECAC post-season competition on the home sheet heading into game two.
The Saints opened the scoring when sophomore forward Patrick Doherty collected his own rebound off the glove of Colgate goaltender Eric Mihalik and snapped the puck into the net for his ninth of the year 8:53 into play. Defensemen Jordan Dewey and Justin Baker assisted on the play. Sophomore wing Gunnar Hughes then collaborated with his brother, senior defenseman George Hughes on an up-ice rush, Gunnar finishing off the goal mouth pass from George for his seventh of the season at 19:10.
The Saints won the following faceoff and junior center Kyle Essery took the puck away from a Colgate defender behind the net, centering it to Wick, who put his 14th of the year past Mihalik for the 3-0 lead at 19:55 with Chris Martin also assisting.
The Saints then converted on their first power play of the game as the nation's leading goal scorer, Saint junior wing Greg Carey, scored his 27th of the year on a power play wrist shot which spun in off Mihalik's pads at 10:56 of the second.
Saint captain Kyle Flanagan, who underwent surgery for an inflamed appendix just 10 days ago, set up the goal with his 29th assist of the season and George Hughes picked up his second assist of the night, giving him 30 on the season.
Colgate used its freshman and sophomore dominated power play to battle back into contention. Rookie Kyle Baun scored his 14th of the year on a tip in of a shot from the center point by sophomore defenseman Spiro Goulakos on a power play just 55 seconds into the third period and the Raiders made it a 4-2 game when Goulakos walked in from the center slot and fed freshman Tylor Spink who scored his 13th of the year as he tucked the puck past a sprawling Matt Weninger at 3:16.
Weninger and the Saints prevented further scoring by the Raiders, killing off one more Colgate third period power play and then holding off the Raiders on 1:55 of extra attacker time at the end of the game. Weninger finished with 29 saves, making 13 in the first and 11 in the third after a relatively light second period when he needed to stop just five shots. Mihalik finished with 24 for Colgate, 12 of them in the second period. The Saints also had three shots ring off the post.