St. Lawrence University's men's hockey team will return to action after a week off and finds itself in the top 20 nationally with its first poll appearances since March of 2009 heading into a first-ever set against the University of Alabama at Huntsville at Appleton Arena Friday and Saturday.
The Saints will make their first official appearance in Appleton Arena and are riding a 3-1-0 start to the season with a split at current number 11 Western Michigan and a sweep of Maine on the road to their credit. The Saints enter the rankings at 16th in the USCHO poll and are in the 15th spot in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
The games against the Chargers will be the final tune ups before the start of ECAC play at Brown and Yale Nov. 9-10. The set with Alabama-Huntsville at Appleton Arena will be the first time in the history of the two programs. UAH has been playing as a Division I Independent since the folding of College Hockey America following the 2009-10 season. Coached by former Providence College standout Kurt Kleinendorst, who played on the 1983 Providence team which nipped the Saints 1-0 in SLU's first ECAC semifinal appearance since1967, the Chargers have been a Division I program since 1987-88 with the exception of two and six-year stints as a Division II program.
In addition to the first official NCAA games in Appleton Arena this weekend, the Alabama at Huntsville games will also be part of a weekend in which former Saint coach Joe Marsh is honored for his contributions to the program, the university and college hockey during his 26-year career. Marsh will be honored between the first and second periods of Friday's game and many of the former players who are gathering for the weekend will play in an alumni game Friday afternoon.
Marsh has been the subject of several outstanding columns in the past week honoring him on his retirement. Adam Wooton of College Hockey News did two columns (click here and here) and former Saint captain Jamie Baker, now a commentator for the San Jose Sharks had a great tribute on his blog.