Union College jumped out to a fast start then then finished strong to hand St. Lawrence a 5-1 ECAC Hockey loss in the second to last game of the 2013 regular season at Messa Rink in Schenectady Friday night, but the Saints remain in the picture for a possible bye with one game to play.
The Saints, 16-13-4 overall and 9-8-4 will go into Rensselaer, which clinched second on Friday night, with a chance at the bye as they are tied with Union and Dartmouth for fourth with splits in the season series against both teams.
Union came out flying and jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first 4:05 of the game. Defenseman Charlie Vasaturo scored just 45 seconds into the game as he took a shot off a faceoff win in the Saint zone and the puck deflected off a Saint stick and past Saint goalie Matt Weninger and Massena native Matt Hatch made it a 2-0 game at 4:05 as he snapped a shot which Weninger got a piece of with his stick, but the puck snuck into the upper corner of the net for Hatch's eighth of the year.
The Dutchmen made it a 3-0 game 3:38 into the second period when Kyle Bodie stepped around a Saint defender and picked up a rebound of a shot by defenseman Shane Gostisbehere and jammed it into the net from the left post. Weninger argued that the net had been off its moorings when the goal was scored, but video review upheld the score.
The Saints got back into it 9:10 into the third when George Hughes sent the puck up ice to defensive partner Justin Baker, who in turn found Chris Martin, sending Martin in one-on-one with Union goalie Troy Grosenick. Martin snuck the puck inside the near post as he cut to the net for his seventh of the year.
Union came right back as defenseman Mat Bodie caught the Saints in a line change and bombed a shot past Weninger for his fifth of the year at 13:01 and Wayne Simpson made it a 5-1 game with his 14th of the season, putting back his own rebound as the Saints could not clear the puck after a series of Weninger saves at 18:13.
Weninger finished with 41 saves for the Saints while Grosenick had 17 and Colin Stevens added two. The Saints held Union, which came in with a 24.5 percent success rate on the power play, scoreless in five chances, but could not convert on four of their own.