The "Big Three" got some help from junior defenseman Justin Baker on the offensive end of the ice as a shorthanded defensive unit helped Matt Weninger hold an explosive young Colgate offense in check as St. Lawrence advanced to the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals with a 4-1 series clinching victory over Colgate at Appleton Arena Saturday night.
Baker scored two goals and Saint stars Kyle Flanagan, Greg Carey and George Hughes combined for two goals and six assists as the Saints advanced as a sixth seed for the first time in three tries with the back-to-back wins over the Raiders. SLU will have to wait to find out its quarterfinal destination, however, as the Harvard-Dartmouth series will go to a third game in Hanover on Sunday. If fifth-seeded Dartmouth wins, the Saints will play at Yale, the third seed. If Harvard upends the Big Green, the Saints will be at Union in the quarters next weekend.
The Saints, 18-14-4 played short a defenseman for the second straight night as junior Riley Austin was lost to a knee injury about six minutes into the game on Saturday. Senior Mac Stratford injured his shoulder early in the first period in Friday's series opener. Despite having to double-shift blueliners in both games, the Saints held Colgate to just three goals and only one in an even strength situation in the two games.
Flanagan, just 11 days after an appendectomy, had a goal and three assists in the game and the three assists made him the seventh player in Saint program history to pass 100 assists for his career. He also set a career high in goals in a season with his 15th to open the scoring. Carey added to his national lead in goals and power play goals, scoring his 28th of the year and 14th on the power play and also picked up his sixth game-winning goal..
Weninger also turned in a strong game again Saturday helping the Saints hold the Raiders scoreless on three power plays including back-to-back opportunities in the second period. Weninger finished with 27 saves, seven of them on power plays, while Colgate starter Spencer Finney had four saves on six shots before being relieved by Eric Mihalik who allowed two goals on 20 shots.
Flanagan opened the scoring with his 15th goal of the year as he was alone at the side of the net when Hughes hit him with a pin-point pass at 9:38. Carey then made it 2-0 at 13:43 when he one-timed a rocket past Finney from Hughes, ending the night for the Colgate goalie.
Neither team scored in the second, although each had a shot rattle off the crossbar, and the Saints made it a 3-0 game when Baker pinched in from the point on a power play and took a feed from Flanagan at the side of the net, scoring his fourth of the year from point blank range.
Kurtis Bartliff foiled Weninger's shutout bid when he took a bouncing puck off the end boards and tucked it in from right in front at 13:01, but Baker went up high on Mihalik for his second of the night on a power play rebound off a Flanagan shot at 14:45 to wrap up the scoring.