Weninger has big night at Saints men's hockey ties Cornell 4-4
Senior goaltender Matt Weninger stopped both a breakaway and a penalty shot in overtime and St. Lawrence University overcame a tough start to earn a 4-4 tie at 12th-ranked Cornell, snapping a seven-game Saint losing streak.
Cornell came out flying and had it not been for some spectacular stops by Weninger might have blown the Saints out of Lynah Rink in the first five minutes of the game. As it was the Saints again found themselves in an early hole, giving up two goals in the first 4:14, but this time they were able to work their way back into it.Weninger, who finished with 29 saves, made five in the extra period which included both a penalty shot and a late power play. Defenseman Gavin Bayreuther blocked a shot with a wide open net with 3:30 to play in the extra period and then Cole Bardreau picked up a puck in the neutral zone and broke in on Weninger. The Saint senior held his ground and made a pad save to prevent that goal, but the Saints were called for a hook on the play and Bardreau was awarded a penalty shot. Weninger stuffed him again to keep it 4-4 and the Saints won a trio of defensive end draws with Cornell on the power play in the final nine seconds to grab the well-earned point.
The Saints, who played their second straight nationally ranked team and will play two more in the next two weeks, shook off a rocky start to come out of the first period in reasonable shape score-wise. SLU is now 8-12-3 overall and 2-6-3 in league play, earning its first ECAC point a 8-5 win at Dartmouth on Nov. 9.
A pair of rebound goals spotted the Big Red their early lead as Dustin Mowrey collected a rebound with Weninger down in the crease and scored his sixth of the year unassisted 1:36 into the game and Christian Hilbrich tapped home a puck which sat in the crease after Weninger robbed Mowrey at 4:14.
The Saint coaching staff took an early time out following the second Cornell goal and the Saints slowly started to regroup. While Cornell continued its pressure through the first 10 minutes, the Saints got back into it when Brian Ward finished off a three-on-one rush with his sixth of the season at 15:17. Chris Martin, playing defense instead of his usual wing, sent Drew Smolcynski away to start the play and Smolcynski made the pass to Ward, who put the puck between the near post and the pads of goalie Andy Iles. The Saints tied it just 24 seconds later when freshman Alex Dahl took a pass from Eric Sweetman and gunned a shot under the crossbar for his second of the year with Kyle Essery also assisting at 15:51.
Cornell came back to take a late first period lead when the Saints gave the puck up in the corner and Hilbrich moved out and front and scored from point blank range at 19:55, but the Saints tied it again on their first power play chance of the game as Jeremy Wick tipped in Greg Carey's wrister with Matt Carey also assisting at 3:43 of the second. The assist stretched Greg Carey's scoring streak to 18 consecutive games.
The Big Red made it a 4-3 game with yet another late goal as Brian Ferlin was left alone and walked around the net, scoring from the top of the blue at 17:11 for his ninth of the season.
The Saints, who went two for four on the power play and killed off all three Cornell power plays, tied it when Matt Carey snapped a shot from right next to the left post past Iles off Greg Carey's man-up feed with Gunnar Hughes also assisting at 16:42 of the third.
Iles finished with 16 saves for Cornell which had a 33-20 edge in shots on goal.