Five different St. Lawrence University players scored goals and the Saints snapped a four-game winless streak with a solid 5-2 victory at Northeastern on Friday, running its unbeaten streak against Hockey East teams to 7-0-1 and improving to 5-1-0 in non-league play.
Gunnar Hughes, Kyle Flanagan and Greg Carey all had a goal and an assist each and a quartet of Saints picked up their first points of the year as the Saints blew it open with a pair of goals 26 seconds apart in the third period, catching the Huskies with odd-man rushes as Northeastern was pushing to try to get back into it.\
"I'm pretty happy with tonight's effort," said Saint coach Greg Carvel. "That was close to a complete effort andto the way we want to play. We were able to control the tempo and while we took a couple of bad penalties early, we got a big goal from Greg Carey at the end of the first and then took it from there. We pressured them into some turnovers and did a good job of clearing the puck out of our end. We played tonight the way we need to play every night...play our system andbe responsible with the puck."
Goaltender Matt Weninger came through with a solid performance to earn his sixth win of the season, making 21 saves, but several in key situations to keep the Saints in front while it was still close. SLU finished with a 39-23 edge in shots on goal in a solid performance from start to finish.
The Saints came out strong in the first period and dominated play, but Northeastern hit the scoreboard first. Defenseman Dan Cornell took the puck at the Saint blue line and fed sophomore wing Ludwig Karlsson, who circled through the right faceoff circle and snapped a shot from the faceoff dot which beat a screened Weninger over the shoulder at 13:25.
The Saints, who had a 12-5 edge in first period shots, tied the game with 52.9 seconds to go in the first period as Nelson Armstrong took the puck at the top of the faceoff circle and fed Jeremy Wick at the left side of the Northeastern goal. Wick found Greg Carey near the top of the blue and Carey tapped a quick shot past NU goalie Bryan Mountain for his ninth of the season to make it 1-1 after one.
Northeastern came out strong to start the second period, doubling its shot total in the first five minutes, but Weninger was up to the task and the Saints gave him a lead to work with, scoring a pair of goals and dominating the final 12 minutes of the middle stanza. Gunnar Hughes gave the Saints a 2-1 lead on a power play as he controlled his own rebound and tucked it under the stick of Mountain at 8:56 from Carey and Kyle Flanagan and then Hughes picked up his second point of the night when he fed Patrick Doherty at the top of the slot and Doherty whipped a nifty pass to Flanagan, who hit the open side of the net for his third of the year at 13:05 and a 3-1 Saint lead.
Weninger, who had 11 second period saves, had a big one on a shorthanded breakaway by Adam Reid at 16:10 to keep it a two-goal game while Mountain got some help from the post on a Flanagan set-up just seconds before.
Northeastern pressured the Saint end to try to get back into it in the third, and while the Saints had several blocked shots and turned away a number of rushes, it was still a tight game until the Saints were able to turn the Northeastern pressure against the Huskies.
Sean McGovern, Chris Martin and Tommy Thompson headed up ice as part of a four-on-two rush and that produced the fourth Saint goal after a video review. McGovern took a pass from Thompson and took the first shot which Mountain kicked out, but Martin put the rebound back past the goalie as a NU defenseman slid into the goal post, knocking the net off its moorings. While the goal was originally waved off, it was called good after review and Martin had his fourth of the season and the Saints a 4-1 lead at 15:44.
It went to 5-1 just 26 seconds later as Mac Stratford, Alex Hagen and Matt Dyer headed up ice on another odd-man rush. Stratford took the initial shot and while Mountain kicked it out, defenseman Pat Raley pounced on the rebound and put it up hight for his first of the year with Stratford and Hagen getting their first assists of the season on the play at 16:10.
"The goals weren't always pretty, but that's the way we are going to have to play...sometimes just grind it into the back of the net,"Carvel added.
Northeastern did get one back when Dax Lauwers' shot from the point deflected off a stick in front at 18:53 to make it a 5-2 final, but the Saints came away with the solid win in their best performance in the last three weekends.