Junior wing Greg Carey scored a pair of first period power play goals and goaltender Matt Weninger ran his shutout streak against the University of Alabama in Huntsville to 107:17 as St. Lawrence University completed a weekend sweep of the Chargers with a 3-1 win at Appleton Arena on Saturday night.
The Saints, 5-1-0 and ranked 15th nationally in one poll and 16th in another are off to the best start to a season since the 1999-2000 team won its first eight to start the season. A plucky Huntsville team battled hard on Saturday, but couldn't come away with a victory despite the good effort and fell to 0-7-1 on the year.
Carey scored his fifth and sixth goals of the year as the Saint power play connected on its first two chances of the game. He snapped a wrist shot from the short slot past last-minute Charger starter John Griggs at 5:52 of the first period after being set up by defenseman George Hughes, and beat Griggs again at 14:24 when he one-timed Kyle Flanagan's pass into the far corner of the net with Justin Baker also assisting. Carey is off to his best start as a Saint and now has six goals and seven assists in the first six games of the year.
UAH coach Kurt Kleinendorst had intended to start freshman Gregg Gruehl in goal and Gruehl lined up in front of the cage for the opening faceoff, but was taken off the ice by the officials due to a problem with his mask. After a delay to try to repair the mask, and finding that Griggs' helmet was not going to be a suitable replacement, Gruehl stepped aside and Griggs started the game.
Gruehl, his mask repaired, came on to start the second period and was immediately greeted by a rocket from Carey, which he gloved for his first official collegiate save. He later foiled Carey's hat trick bid with a one-on-one save on a short breakaway and turned in a solid performance in his two periods of work.
Sophomore Tommy Thompson was the only Saint to get the puck behind the Charger rookie as he scored the game's first even strength goal at 12:20 of the second period, picking up a rebound of a shot by defenseman Jordan Dewey and stuffing it behind the goaltender. Riley Austin also assisted on the play for the Saints, giving SLU a 3-0 lead after two.
The Chargers refused to go away however, and finally got a shot past Weninger when Jeff Vanderlugt picked up a loose rebound in front and banked a shot in off the post with Brice Geoffrion assisting at 12:43 of the third. The Chargers could get no closer however, and the Saints foiled bids to pull Gruehl for an extra attacker by controlling the puck in the final two minutes of play.
Weninger finished with 23 saves for his fifth win of the season while Griggs made nine first period saves, taking the loss and Gruehl had 20 saves on 21 shots in his two periods of action.
The Saints will open ECAC play at Brown and Yale Nov. 9-10 while the Chargers will play a Nov. 10-11 set at Northeastern.