If Saturday night's exhibition game against Carleton is any indication of what is to come, St. Lawrence University's men's hockey team is going to have another productive year from its defensive corps.
Seven defensemen dressed for the Saturday exhibition and five figured in the scoring as blueliners scored two goals and had five assists in a 5-1 Saint victory.
While the statistics from the exhibition will not count, the performance of the squad in its first outing of the year was heartening to the coaching staff, which is apparently going to have a lot of depth to work with heading into a tough stretch of non-league road games. Regular defensemen Pete Child, George Hughes and Matt Raley sat out the exhibition as did forwards Matt Bogosian and Kyle Flanagan and junior goaltender Robby Moss.
Junior goaltender Joe Spadaccini earned the win with two shutout periods with rookie Matt Weninger making his debut and turning in a solid third period.
"It was a good night for us and while we obviously have a lot of work to do, we saw a lot of good things," said associate head coach Bob Prier, who ran the team for the exhibition while head coach Joe Marsh was away for a family function. "We're going to have some excellent competition for playing time, and from what we saw tonight, we should be able to build some pretty good depth."
The Saints scored the first goal of the game on a four-on-three power play at the 9:00 mark as junior Max Mobley tipped a shot from the point by Matt Dyer past Raven goalie Matthew Dopud. Dyer took the puck from defensive partner Bobby Torney and snapped a hard shot toward net which Mobley got a stick on to redirect past Dopud.
It went to 2-0 with just 3.6 seconds to go in the period as Sean Flanagan, playing his first game in over a year after sitting out last season following surgery, set up junior Rick Carden for a wrap-around goal. Jordan Dewey started the play with a pass to Flanagan, who fed Carden as he headed behind the net. Carden came out next to the right post and tucked the puck behind Dopud and inside the far post.
Junior goalie Joe Spadaccini had a solid first period in net for the Saints, making eight saves including three one-on-one stops to keep the Ravens off the board.
The Saints made it a 3-0 game 6:41 into the second period with another deflection of a hard shot by a defenseman. Sean Coffey wired a hard shot toward net and Flanagan picked it out of the air and directed it past Dopud with Nick Pitsikoulis also assisting on the play.
Sophomore defenseman Matt Dyer made it a 4-0 game when he scored from the center point against Ravens backup goaltender Ryan Dube, who came in when Dopud was injured making a stop in a scramble at the side of the net.
Weninger came on to play the third period in goal and had the busiest period of the game as Carleton came out with good intensity in the third and matched its shot total for the first two periods. Weninger made 12 saves, but the Ravens spoiled the shutout with a four-on-four goal in the waning seconds.
Sophomore defenseman Jordan Dewey gave the Saints a 5-0 lead 5:26 into the third when he scored from Max Mobley and rookie Greg Carey on a shot from the point, but Brett Halstead was able to get the Ravens on the board when his shot through a screen banked in off the crossbar with 26.4 seconds to go in the game.