Senior Night was just the answer St. Lawrence University's men's hockey team needed as the Saint hockey class of 2014 scored four of five goals and had 10 points in a 5-0 romp past Princeton, a game the Saints had to have to land home ice for the opening round of the ECAC playoffs.
Union gave the Saints a hand earlier in the day, scoring three goals late in the third period to beat Brown 3-0, and Colgate picked up a second assist on the home ice berth for the Saints as it beat Dartmouth 2-1. The Saints broke out of a three-way tie for ninth, leapfrogged Brown into eighth place and will host the Bears in a best of three series starting Friday.
Captain Kyle Essery and senior wing Jeremy Wick scored on the first two shots of the game for the Saints, sending Princeton starting goaltender Colton Phinney to an early shower and the Saints built a 3-0 lead to set the stage for the big win, just their second in league play at home this season.
Essery took a pass from Brian Ward and cut in tight, flipping the puck up and over the shoulder of Phinney just 2:22 into the game. Wick made it a 2-0 game just 1:29 later when he one-timed a pass from freshman defenseman Gavin Bayreuther past Phinney with senior Justin Baker also assisting.
Senior Sean Bonar took over and played well the rest of the way, but the Saints expanded their lead. Wick scored his second of the night from ECAC regular-season scoring champion Greg Carey and goalie Matt Weninger at 18:32 of the first as he took a pass and broke through the defense and Wick completed his hat trick, tapping home a rebound after Bonar stopped a shot by senior defenseman Pat Raley at 11:47 of the second. Bayreuther completed the scoring with a power play blast from the center slot with 43 seconds left in the second period.
Carey had two assists in the game, pushing his career total to 100 and became the first Saint to win back-to-back ECAC scoring titles. He also leads all ECAC players in the overall scoring race and takes a career high 53 points into the playoffs. Wick scored his first career hat trick and pushed his season total to 17 goals, 12 of them on the power play while Baker reached the 80 career point mark for defensemen.
The Saints outshot Princeton 17-3 in the second period and 15-5 in the third as Bonar had 15 saves in each period and finished with 36 for the game. Weninger, who holds Saint career records for appearances, minutes and saves recorded his eighth career shutout with 14 saves.