POTSDAM By building a three-goal lead in the third period, St. Lawrence University thought it had archrival Clarkson right where they wanted it on Saturday night.
The opposite ultimately proved to be true as the Golden Knights rallied for three unanswered goals in the third period to forge a 3-3 draw with the Saints in an ECAC Hockey encounter at Cheel Arena.
While St. Lawrence (9-10-3, 2-5-3) still earned a point in the standings, it let a golden opportunity slip away to finally post an elusive win against Clarkson (4-12-6, 3-5-2).
Thats the second time this has happened (this season), Saints senior captain Kyle Flanagan said. We were at Brown in the beginning of the year we were up 3-0 and the same thing happened. Here we let them get the momentum. Were going to make mistakes but its January 19th and its time to really crack down. We cant keep making the same mistakes over and over or were not going to get very far in the playoffs.
With the tie, the Saints halted a four-game losing skid against the Golden Knights, but are 1-7-1 in their past nine games against their rival.
But what was frustrating for St. Lawrence was the way they squandered the 3-0 advantage after they seemingly had the game in hand with Kyle Flanagans goal 6 minutes, 12 seconds into the third.
Its real tough St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. ... I thought we played real well in the second period and the first 10 minutes of the third. But mistakes we made let them back in the game and this has been our issue all year, we allow teams to capitalize on our mistakes.
That was a tough third period, Flanagan said. But in the first five minutes, we came out and got those goals.
After freshman left wing Pat Megannety scored on the power play at 8:53 for Clarksons first goal, Alex Boak followed with a goal by knocking in a rebound at 12:50 to pull the Golden Knights within 3-2.
With the Saints clinging to the one-goal advantage, Megannety delivered the tying tally at 17:16 as he positioned himself near the goal and knocked in a pass from T.J. Moore past goalie Matt Weninger with 2:44 left in regulation.
I think our biggest issue is our battles around the front of our net, Carvel said. We have a hard time defending against ugly goals. All those goals were rebounds, they threw the puck into the paint and they had position and out battled us on at least two of those goals.
St. Lawrence broke a scoreless tie nearly midway into the game as Carey finished off a partial breakaway at 9:40 of the second period.
After Jeremy Wick scored on a St. Lawrence power play to put the Saints up 2-0 just 1:22 into the third, Flanagan finished off a sharp give-and-go sequence with Sean McGovern to finish off a 3-on-1 breakaway at 6:12.
Sure we scored some pretty goals, Carey said. But weve got to score some ugly goals as well.
Clarkson, which has seemingly always risen to the occasion recently against St. Lawrence, is now 5-0-1 in the past six conference meetings.
The Saints also havent won in Potsdam in their past three games (0-2-1) over the course of three seasons with their last win there coming in a 4-3 decision in January 2009.
With us up 3-0 we put it in cruise control and thats what we did for a couple shifts, but let them back in the game, added Flanagan, who scored his first career goal against Clarkson in 13 games. We cant think about the end of the game with 12 minutes left.
On a positive note, St. Lawrence moved out of last place in the ECAC and into a tie for 10th-place with Colgate.
The Saints play at Dartmouth and Harvard next Friday and Saturday.