Since we had two beat writers covering this game, my story is not a traditional "game story." Instead, it is a sidebar meant to accompany the game story.
POTSDAM — There’s honor in how St. Lawrence co-captain Jacob Drewiske handled his team’s 4-3 loss to Clarkson on Saturday at Cheel Arena.
It’s the way one would expect a captain to behave. He didn’t give excuses or place blame. He took responsibility for a play that led to a goal that led to a loss.
“My team deserves more,” he said. “I have to be better.”
It would not have been fair for anyone else to blame him.
It wasn’t Drewiske’s play alone that allowed Clarkson (11-10-5 overall, 5-4-3 ECAC Hockey) to outshoot the Saints 50-13. It wasn’t Drewiske alone who squandered goalie Matt Weninger’s sensational 46-save effort.
“It’s another lesson in the game is 60 minutes long and not eight minutes,” St. Lawrence associate head coach Mike Hurlbut said. “It’s guys not willing to pay the price to get the puck out of the zone or make a simple play to get the puck deep and get a forecheck going. It’s very frustrating for us.”
Despite all St. Lawrence’s pitfalls, including countless turnovers, it still held a 3-2 lead after two periods. Drewiske helped build that edge with a go-ahead score at 1 minute, 51 seconds of the second that put SLU up 2-1.
The third-period debacle was not entirely Drewiske’s fault.
Yet the senior co-captain fixated on one play: The Saints (8-13-3, 4-7-1), on a penalty kill, cleared the zone and Jeremy Wick came away with the loose puck. He flicked a pass behind him to Drewiske near the center dot instead of dumping it deep.
Drewiske sent a weak, errant pass toward the St. Lawrence bench, which Clarkson’s Ben Sexton picked off to start a two-on-one rush. Sexton fed Nick Tremblay and the game was tied. Drewiske slowly came to a stop trailing the play.
“I had a mental lapse and that changed the momentum of the game pretty quickly,” he said. “I’m very disappointed in myself tonight in the third period and that turnover.”
Clarkson, off another turnover, scored four minutes later to take the lead.
“They came hard all game, especially in the first and third,” Weninger said. “It’s disappointing for a lot of reasons. It’s a little bit deflating.”
The Saints still had over nine minutes to find the equalizer, including a full minute with an extra attacker.
SLU failed to put a quality shot on goal during that time. That included a moment when St. Lawrence’s top line of Kyle Flanagan, Greg Carey and Patrick Doherty controlled a loose puck in the slot but couldn’t get a shot off.
Drewiske did no finger-pointing. He did as a captain should when his team is struggling: Maintained cohesion for later success, not harm the chemistry and be doomed to fail. He’s telling his teammates — his second family — that he will never turn on them.
There’s a lot of honor in that.
“We’re resilient and I believe in the guys in the locker room and our coaches believe in us,” Drewiske said. “We will rebound and we’re going to be a team nobody wants to play at the end.”