Chris Fitz Gerald is a sportswriter for the Watertown Daily Times.
Chris has covered hockey over the course of three decades, with his past beats including Union College of the ECAC and the Albany River Rats of the AHL, as well coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals (2003), the NCAA Frozen Four (2001) and several NCAA Regionals and ECAC Tournaments.
After breaking in as a part-time writer at The Record in Troy, N.Y., in 1990, Chris worked at The Daily Editor in Cobleskill, N.Y., from 1992-94, before returning to The Record, where he served as a sportswriter from 1994-2010 and as a news reporter for a year. After working at the Glens Falls Post-Star as a news copy editor, Chris joined the Watertown Daily Times staff in May 2012.
A native of Scotia, N.Y., Chris is a graduate of the State University of New York's College at Brockport, where he majored in journalism and minored in history.
CANTON — Sophomore Woody Hudson scored a pair of goals and St. Lawrence University received three other goals from underclassmen to roll past Dartmouth College, 6-3 on Saturday night before a turnout of 1,503 at Appleton Arena to clinch second place in ECAC Hockey.
The No. 20-ranked Saints (18-11-3, 14-5-1), who secured a first-round playoff bye the night before, prevailed in their regular-season home finale to stretch their winning streak at home to six games.
“It’s exciting, it’s just a credit to our senior class with the leadership they’ve displayed all year,” Hudson said. “Last year we weren’t this confident going into the playoffs, it’s amazing what they’ve done to show us what it takes.”
The Saints, who have two games remaining in the regular season, last finished second in the ECAC standings in 2001.
“This team has made me very proud all year,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “We were picked to finish 11th in the polls, but we had a goal of first-round home ice, then the bye and we met each of those. Now our third goal is to get to Lake Placid and play for a championship.”
The Saints also halted a seven-game home losing skein against the Big Green (13-10-4, 10-8-2), who recorded a split on their north country trip.
“We’re on a roll here, we’re playing well,” said St. Lawrence senior forward Justin Bruckel, who assisted on both of Hudson’s goals. “Along with my linemates, I think we’re doing well and everyone else is contributing, too.”
After Dartmouth drew within 2-1 on Rick Pinkston’s goal with 6.7 seconds left in the second period, Hudson struck for his second goal of the game as he finished off a feed from Bruckel 2:46 into the third.
“When you’re that big, why wouldn’t you go to the net and get rewarded? And that’s what he did tonight,” Carvel said of Hudson, who stands at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds.
St. Lawrence freshman Joe Sullivan followed with an unassisted goal as he stripped the puck from a defender and sent the puck past goalie Charles Grant at 10:28 for a 4-1 lead.
The Big Green closed within 4-2 on Pinkston’s second goal at 11:34, but just 32 seconds later, Saints junior Tommy Thompson tucked the puck through Grant’s leg pads as he was being pulled down on a breakaway and St. Lawrence led 5-2.
Nick Bligh would pull Dartmouth again to within two with a power-play goal at 18:47 with Grant pulled for an extra attacker, but Saints freshman Mike Marnell scored an empty-net goal with 51.9 seconds left.
Freshman Christian Horn provided the Saints with a 1-0 lead as he broke through the defense and beat Grant from the left faceoff circle 10:12 into the game.
St. Lawrence then generated a workmanlike goal as after defenseman Nolan Gluchowski tried a wraparound shot after working his way from behind the net, Hudson was there at the doorstep to knock in the rebound at 14:43 of the opening period.
Kyle Hayton made 28 saves to record the win, which also marked the first time in the past 13 game that the freshman goalie yielded more than two goals.
NOTES: Bruckel and fellow seniors Gunnar Hughes, Patrick Doherty and Chris Martin were honored after the game. ... The Saints’ 9-5-1 home record is the program’s best since the 2009-2010 season. They finished 8-3 on home ice in league play, the team’s best mark since the 2006-07 campaign. ... Hayton entered the game leading the nation in save percentage (.941). ... Sullivan has scored five goals in his past 13 games, with four of them game winners, and his goal on Saturday tied him for the team lead in deciding goals with sophomore defenseman Gavin Bayreuther. ... St. Lawrence concludes its regular season at Union and Rensselaer next Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.
CANTON — Gunnar Hughes had a hand in three goals, including scoring the game’s first two, as No. 20-ranked St. Lawrence rolled past No. 14 Harvard 5-1 at Appleton Arena to secure a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey playoffs.
The Saints (17-11-3 overall, 13-5-1 ECAC), who had already wrapped up home ice for the playoffs last weekend, will receive a bye into the quarterfinal round for the first time in six seasons.
“That’s been our goal ever since we started winning some games here,” Hughes, the Saints’ team captain, said. “We’re trying to get ready for the playoffs as much as we can.”
In what might have been its most complete effort of the season, St. Lawrence strengthened its hold on second place in the conference.
“That was the best game we have played all season,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “Last weekend we weren’t our usual selves and we came away with only one point. But we talked this week about starting to elevate going into the playoffs and I think we really elevated our game tonight.”
The Saints also continued their recent dominance over Harvard (13-9-3, 9-7-3) as they extended their unbeaten streak against the Crimson to six games (5-0-1).
“It’s always been fun to play against them, and I always get a little bit of an extra kick when we face them,” said Hughes, who also scored the game’s first goal in St. Lawrence’s victory at Harvard on Jan. 17, also a 5-1 decision. “ ... I don’t know what it is, but I love playing against them.”
The Saints, who can finish no lower than fourth place, can clinch second place by earning two more points and can secure at least third place with one more point.
“I think we’re playing playoff hockey, that’s the way we’re describing it,” Hughes said. “This is an exciting time for us.”
With the game tied 1-1 entering the second period, the Saints struck for three goals within a span of four minutes, 20 seconds to take command.
Hughes provided the go-ahead goal as he finished off a feed from Patrick Doherty with a drive from outside the right faceoff circle that deflected off a Harvard player at 10:14 of the period.
Tommy Thompson and Joe Sullivan each followed with a goal within a span of 1:20 as Thompson fired in his own rebound at 13:32.
Sullivan then scored from the right faceoff circle at 14:34 for a 4-1 Saints advantage.
Mike Marnell added a goal for St. Lawrence 6:59 into the third period.
“I give a lot of credit to St. Lawrence,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said. “When it was all said and done, they out-competed us all over the ice.”
The Saints led 1-0 on Hughes’ goal 9:06 into the game as he knocked in a pass from Thompson past goalie Steve Michalek.
Harvard drew even at 1-1 on Tyler Moy’s power-play goal on a blast from the left point just inside the blue line with 14 seconds left in the opening period.
Freshman goalie Kyle Hayton made 25 saves to secure the win for St. Lawrence, which extended its streak of not allowing two or more goals to 12 games.
The Saints, who have won five consecutive home games, host Dartmouth at 7 p.m. today on the team’s senior night.
Patrick Doherty scored a shorthanded goal in the first period for St. Lawrence, but Mike Ambrosia followed with a goal in the second period and Princeton went on to record a 1-1 tie with the No. 20-ranked Saints on Saturday night in an ECAC Hockey game at Hobey Baker Rink.
With the point, second-place St. Lawrence (16-11-3, 12-5-1 ECAC) assured itself of hosting a conference playoff series, and put itself in a strong position to secure a first-round bye with four games remaining in the regular season.
“That was our goal at the beginning of the year, to secure home ice for the first round,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “That’s huge and now we have to try to win a game or two and that should secure us one of the four byes, which is now the goal in front of us.”
Goalie Colton Phinney made 34 saves to record the win for last-place Princeton (4-17-3, 2-14-2), which went 1-0-1 over the weekend, including a 2-1 victory over Clarkson on Friday.
“It was a real good college hockey game,” Carvel said. “There was a lot of speed up and down the ice and I thought we played pretty well. We had a lot of scoring chances and I thought their goaltender made a lot of good saves.”
Kyle Hayton finished with 21 saves for the Saints, who recorded their first tie of the season in conference play.
Doherty opened the scoring with a breakaway goal 9 minutes, 47 seconds into the game.
Ambrosia tied the game for Princeton as he scored a power-play goal 12:49 into the second period. The tally was the first man-advantage goal allowed by St. Lawrence in eight games.
With the game still tied, Phinney denied Christian Horn’s partial breakaway bid in the third period.
The Tigers nearly scored in the first minute of overtime, but Hayton made a pad save on Tucker Brockett as the forward skated into the goalie. Officials upheld the no-goal call after a video review.
St. Lawrence out shot Princeton, 35-22, including 4-3 in overtime.
With the draw against Princeton, St. Lawrence now leads third-place Yale by three points, 25-22, fourth-place Harvard by four points and fifth-place Dartmouth by five points. The top four finishers will receive a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The Saints, who can finish no lower than eighth place, will host Harvard and Dartmouth at 7 p.m. next Friday and Saturday in their final two home games of the regular season.
HAMDEN, Conn. — In a showdown for conference supremacy, one streak in ECAC Hockey continued for Quinnipiac on Friday night while another came to an end at the expense of St. Lawrence University.
Soren Jonzzon and Brandon Smith each scored in the second period as the No. 13-ranked Bobcats rallied for a 2-1 victory in an ECAC Hockey game at High Point Solutions Arena to halt the No. 20 Saints’ winning streak at seven games.
The Bobcats extended their unbeaten streak in league play to nine games (8-0-1) and also tightened their grip on first place.
“It was a hard-fought game, I thought both teams battled real hard,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “The way Quinnipiac plays, they make it difficult for you to move the puck through the neutral zone and our guys got a little frustrated at times.”
With five games remaining in the regular season, Quinnipiac (19-8-2 ECAC Hockey, 14-2-1), now leads second-place St. Lawrence (16-11-2, 12-5) by five points, 29-24, in the standings.
Junior goalie Michael Garteig made 23 saves, including stopping Sean McGovern on a penalty shot, to earn the win for the Bobcats and out duel Saints freshman Kyle Hayton, who finished with 31 saves.
“We learned a lesson tonight,” Carvel said. “Which is when you’re playing the No. 1 team in the league, you have to play hungry and you have to compete a little bit harder.”
Despite the loss, St. Lawrence is on the cusp of clinching at least home ice for the first round of the playoffs.
The Saints, who are in quest of a top four finish and a first-round bye, can secure at least a home playoff series in the opening round with either a win or tie at Princeton tonight.
St. Lawrence seized a 1-0 lead as just after Christian Horn missed on a breakaway bid, McGovern one-timed a feed from Ryan Lough past Garteig five minutes, 41 seconds into the game.
Quinnipiac, which also ended a four-game home losing skein against the Saints, then struck for two goals, both assisted by Matthew Peca, within a span of 2 1/2 minutes in the second period to take the lead.
Jonzzon drew the Bobcats even as he converted on a Saints’ turnover with a goal at 8:24 of the period and Smith followed with a tally at 10:54 and Quinnipiac led 2-1.
“They scored two goals quickly in the second period on plays where we were unable to get the puck out of our zone,” Carvel said. “They scored on shots from high in the zone and Kyle usually doesn’t get beat on those shots.”
The Saints pulled Hayton for an extra attacker with 31 seconds remaining in regulation, but were unable to get a shot on net.
The Saints and Bobcats each went scoreless on their two power-play opportunities, respectively.
St. Lawrence’s penalty-killing unit extended its streak of not allowing a goal to six games.
The Saints complete their road trip at Princeton, which defeated Clarkson, 2-1, on Friday, at 7 p.m. tonight.
CANTON — Tommy Thompson scored a pair of breakaway goals and goalie Kyle Hayton made 32 saves as St. Lawrence University recorded a 7-1 victory over Union in an ECAC Hockey game at Appleton Arena to post its seventh consecutive victory.
Six different players scored for the Saints (16-10-2, 12-4 ECAC Hockey), who have forged the program’s longest winning streak in 14 seasons.
“It’s awesome,” Thompson said. “Everything is going the right way, we’re playing real hard hockey and I think we’re playing playoff hockey, too.”
With its eighth victory in its past nine games, St. Lawrence also strengthened its hold on second place in the conference.
“Every week we’re getting better and every week we’re turning more heads,” Hayton said. “We beat a national championship team, 7-1. ... We’re just playing well.”
Thompson scored 13 minutes, 13 seconds into the game to set the tone for St. Lawrence, which received goal production from six different players.
“I thought it was a real close game for 25 minutes,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “I thought they came out with more jump than we did, and we were a little fortunate they didn’t cash in on a couple of chances early. Then we were very opportunistic in the second period and used our speed to great advantage.”
The Saints then erupted for five unanswered goals in the second period, including two within the first two minutes on scores from Joe Sullivan and Alexander Dahl, to make quick work of the reigning national champion Dutchmen (14-12-2, 6-9-1).
Thompson followed with his shorthanded, unassisted breakaway goal at 5:40.
Sean McGovern and Nolan Gluchowski also scored in the period for St. Lawrence and Ryan Lough added a goal in the third period.
Hayton stopped all 32 shots faced before Union averted the shutout on Ryan Scarfo’s goal with 1:01 remaining in the game.
St. Lawrence opened up a six-point lead over four teams who are tied for third place in the ECAC — Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth and Clarkson — with three weeks remaining in the regular season.
“This is the way we want to play going into the last six games of our regular season,” Thompson said.
St. Lawrence’s current winning streak is its longest since the 1999-2000 campaign, when the team went 27-8-2 and made the NCAA Frozen Four.
The Saints killed off all six Dutchmen power plays and didn’t allow a man-advantage goal for the fifth straight game.
Four of the Saints’ last six regular-season games are on the road as they play at No. 16 Quinnipiac and Princeton next Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.
CANTON — Alexander Dahl and Christian Horn each scored in the first period and Mike Marnell added a goal as St. Lawrence grinded out a 3-1 victory over RPI in an ECAC Hockey clash before a crowd of 1,643 at Appleton Arena to record its sixth consecutive victory.
“All week coach has been stressing a strong start,” Dahl said. “Lately we’ve been coming out slow in the first period and coming out strong like that in the first five minutes, that’s going to set the tone for the rest of the weekend.”
The Saints (15-10-2, 11-4 ECAC), who have also won seven of their past eight games, strengthened their hold on second place in the conference.
“Right now we’re just in the zone,” Dahl said. “As soon as we got back in the locker room all we were thinking about (tonight). We’re not really thinking about the win, we’re just getting ready for the next game.”
St. Lawrence leads Yale and Harvard, which are tied for third place, by four points in the standings and leads fifth-place Colgate by five points.
“This feels good,” Horn said. “It’s fun for us. A lot of people in the college hockey world have been doubting us quite a bit for the entire season, just saying that we’ve got a hot goalie and that we’re getting lucky.
“That’s fine, they can say what they want — they’re right that we have a hot goalie but we definitely have a team that wants to compete every night and play fast, play hard and play hockey the right way.”
Freshman goalie Kyle Hayton made 21 saves to register the win for the Saints.
St. Lawrence, which received a goal from three different lines, jumped on RPI (9-19-1, 7-8-0) by scoring two goals in the first 11 1/2 minutes of the game.
“It was a little bit of a sloppy game,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “But on the other hand it was a lot like several of the others in our streak ... we figured out a way to win.
Dahl opened the scoring five minutes, 54 seconds into the game as after defenseman Nolan Gluchowski worked the puck into the Engineers’ zone, Dahl lifted a Justin Bruckel rebound past goalie Jason Kasdorf (23 saves).
Horn provided St. Lawrence with a 2-0 advantage with an unassisted effort as he stole the puck from a defender in the RPI end, moved in and sent a shot past Kasdorf at 11:17.
RPI drew within 2-1 on Matt Neal’s breakaway goal 1:15 into the second period.
Marnell provided the Saints with a 3-1 advantage as he one-timed a feed from Joe Sullivan past Kasdorf 10:47 into the third period.
St. Lawrence killed off all three RPI power plays, including one man advantage in the third period.
In turn, the Saints went scoreless on their five power plays.
St. Lawrence will host reigning national champion Union, a 4-1 winner over Clarkson on Friday, at 7 tonight.
/ NOTES: Horn and Marnell have each scored a goal in three of the past four games. ... Sullivan has registered four (2-2) points in the last three games. ... St. Lawrence improved to 6-5-1 at home, including three consecutive wins.
POTSDAM — Joe Sullivan scored the deciding goal and Kyle Hayton made 30 saves as St. Lawrence University rallied past Clarkson for a 2-1 ECAC Hockey victory on Saturday night at Cheel Arena.
Patrick Doherty also scored a goal for the Saints (14-10-2, 10-4), who snapped a nine-game winless skid against the Golden Knights (10-12-4, 7-5-2) in conference play.
St. Lawrence, which has won six of its past seven games, extended its winning streak to five games.
The Saints, which is now 2-1-1 against the Knights this season, also won the regular-season series with their rival for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign.
St. Lawrence now stands alone in second place in ECAC, with Clarkson tied for fourth with Yale.
Joe Zarbo opened the scoring with a goal six minutes, 17 seconds into the game for the Golden Knights.
Patrick Doherty tied the game at 1-1 for the Saints with his goal with 45.6 seconds left in the period.
St. Lawrence took a 2-1 lead on Sullivan’s eventual game-winning goal 9:34 into the second period.
Hayton made 25 saves over the last two periods, including 13 in the third, to hold off Clarkson.
Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play. St. Lawrence has allowed only one power-play goal over its past seven games.
The Saints improved to 9-5-1 on the road, including 6-1 in the conference.
St. Lawrence will host Rensselaer and Union at 7 p.m. next Friday and Saturday.
CANTON — Freshmen Christian Horn, Mike Marnell and Joe Sullivan each scored a goal and freshman goalie Kyle Hayton made 29 saves as St. Lawrence rolled past Brown, 5-2, on Saturday night to record its fourth consecutive ECAC Hockey victory before 1,834 at Appleton Arena.
The Saints (13-10-2, 9-4 ECAC) registered their third weekend sweep in conference play this season, including its second against Yale and Brown a night after defeating the No. 13-ranked Bulldogs, 3-2, in overtime Friday.
“We’re starting to get hot right now,” said Sullivan, a right wing who scored his first game-winning goal and contributed an assist. “It’s nice to see that we’re starting to get the bounces that we were getting in away games, so this is big for us.”
St. Lawrence remains in a tie for second place in the ECAC with Harvard, although the Saints hold the tiebreaker against the Crimson.
“I like this team,” said St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel, whose team has also won five of its past six games. “We continue to inch along and get a little bit better as the season goes along. We didn’t play great tonight, but when you get on a streak, the momentum works for you.”
Brown was also swept by St. Lawrence in the regular-season series for the first time since the 1991-92 season.
“It’s great to be able to contribute to the team like this,” said Marnell, who skates on left wing on a line with Sullivan and Brian Ward at center. “It’s definitely exciting, we’re playing great right now and we have to keep it up.”
Facing a struggling Bears team, Saints underclassmen had a hand in all five goals, capped by sophomore Woody Hudson’s tally in the third period, and totaled 11 points, including seven assists.
“Some guys are starting to come out of their shell and produce the way they can and it’s paying off for us, definitely,” said St. Lawrence senior captain Gunnar Hughes, who scored a power-play goal on a breakaway in the third period. “We saw at the beginning of the season how those guys can play — Sullivan, Marnell and Horn — they’re all skilled players who play fast.
“When we get our second line going, especially with guys like that, they’re hard to control.”
The Saints have nine ECAC games remaining, including a clash at rival Clarkson at 7 p.m. next Saturday.
CANTON — Freshman Mike Marnell scored two minutes, 43 seconds into overtime, with junior Brian Ward assisting, as St. Lawrence University rallied past No. 13 Yale for a 3-2 ECAC Hockey triumph at Appleton Arena.
After the Saints yielded Matt Killian’s go-ahead goal 8:19 into the third period, sophomore Christian Horn scored the game-tying goal on the power play with 1:13 remaining in regulation to set the stage for Marnell and Ward.
“I’d say this was the biggest game of the year for us,” Ward said. “That’s a Yale team that’s been hot and they were probably looking to exact revenge on us.”
Ward took the initial shot, which deflected off a Yale defender and the puck caromed in off the foot of Marnell, who recorded the first game-winning goal of his collegiate career.
“It hit my toe,” Marnell said of the goal, which was originally credited to Ward. “I don’t really care how we score goals, but that was a big one.”
Not only did the Saints record their first overtime win of the season, they continued their ascent in the ECAC standings.
St. Lawrence (12-10-2, 8-4-0), which has won three consecutive games, moved into a tie for second place with No. 4 Harvard, although the Saints own the tiebreaker with their 5-1 win over the Crimson last Saturday.
“To be down a goal with a minute to go and come out of that with two points is huge,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “Two points in the ECAC could be the difference in a couple spots come playoff time. It’s just a huge, huge win, especially against a really good team.”
St. Lawrence freshman goalie Kyle Hayton finished with the edge with 28 saves to out duel Yale’s Alex Lyon (29 saves).
Junior Tommy Thompson also scored for the Saints, who recorded their first regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs (11-5-2, 6-4-1) since the 2006-07 season.
St. Lawrence, in the midst of four home games over a five-game stretch, will host Brown at 7 tonight.
Freshman goalie Kyle Hayton made 46 saves to backstop St. Lawrence University to a 5-1 victory over No. 4 Harvard on Saturday night in an ECAC Hockey game at Bright-Landry Hockey Center.
The Saints (11-10-2, 7-4 ECAC) completed a weekend week after edging Dartmouth, 3-2 on Friday,
St. Lawrence, which remains tied with Rensselaer for third place in the league, improved to 8-5-1 on the road this season, including 5-1 in conference road games.
“This was a huge weekend for us in a lot of ways,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “To get four points in the league on the road is great. We’ve done a hell of a job on the road so far, we’ve won five out of six on the road in the league so far.”
The Saints, which posted its highest-scoring output since capturing a 5-2 victory over Brown on Nov. 7, is just the second team this season to beat Harvard (11-3-2, 7-2-2).
“We played a Harvard team that was a little shorthanded, they were missing a couple of their better players,” Carvel said. “But we game out with a game plan and our guys executed it well. ... I think the difference in the game was our special teams, we scored two power-play goals.”
Hayton made 21 of his saves in the third period to secure the victory for the Saints.
“Kyle Hayton was simply outstanding for the weekend,” Carvel said.
St. Lawrence jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with three goals in the first period on goals from Gunnar Hughes, Gavin Bayreuther and Patrick Doherty.
Tyler Moy scored in the second period to pull Harvard within 3-1, but Brian Ward and Alexander Dahl scored in the third period for the Saints.
St. Lawrence went 2-for-3 on the power play while Havard scored one man-advantage goal from five opportunities.
The Saints are now 4-0-1 in their last five games against the Crimson and have won three straight at Harvard.
St. Lawrence will host Yale on Friday and Brown on Saturday, both 7 p.m. starts.