St. Lawrence University's big guns rose to the challenge Friday night, combining for a pile of points and a huge ECAC Hockey road win over Dartmouth 4-2 in Hanover.
Greg Carey scored one goal and assisted on two others, Kyle Flanagan had a goal and an assist and their linemate, junior Jeremy Wick, had one of his finest nights as a Saint with two goals and an assist as the Saints defeated a ranked opponent for the first time since the opening weekend of the season with their triumph over the 12th-ranked Big Green.
The two teams were familiar foes a year ago, meeting five times including the playoffs, and the Saints met with some success in Hanover, playing to a 2-2 tie in the final of the Ledyard Bank Classic and winning the league meeting between the two teams late in the season 3-1 to set up the playoff series at Appleton, which Dartmouth swept. The Big Green went into Friday's game in Hanover with one of the nation's best home ice records at 8-1-0 overall and 5-0-0 in league play. Friday's Saint win was one of the best road wins of the season and came after the Saints had to fight off some adversity, giving up goals in the final minute of both the first and second period.
"I challenged the guys after the second period," said coach Greg Carvel. "We were frustrated because we were playing well, but we were down 2-1 and had given them a couple of goals. They responded with a great period and once we got the lead there was no fall-off in our aggressiveness. We played physical hockey, kept attacking and got big plays from our big guys."
Dartmouth scored the game's first goal on a strange play with just 1.4 seconds to go in the first period. The Big Green were on a power play and after Tyler Sikura's shot banged high into the air off the post, sophomore defenseman Andy Simpson gathered it in and threw it in front where it deflected past goalie Matt Weninger.
The Saints tied the game 3:48 into the second period when Wick one-timed a pass from Flanagan past Dartmouth goalie Charles Grant for his sixth of the year, but Dartmouth again scored a late one as Dustin Walsh came out of the penalty box after serving a minor and broke in on Weninger, tucking the puck between his pads at 19:10.
Flanagan tied the game 5:46 into the third as he finished off a two-on-one passing play with George Hughes, taking Hughes goalmouth pass and sliding the puck inside the near post for his 12th of the year, and Carey gave the Saints the lead for the first time just under two minutes later when he put Wick's rebound back past Grant for his 15th of the season at 7:36. Wick made it a 4-2 game at 12:50, finishing off a two-on-one with Carey with a rifle shot inside the near post for his second of the game and seventh of the year.
Weninger turned in another outstanding performance for the Saints, making 31 saves, and like the rest of the team had a big third period with 11 saves including a point-blank power play save early in the period.
"I'm not a goalie guru, but I do know Wenny was battling to make big saves tonight," added Carvel. "He worked side to side very well to take away some chances when Dartmouth tried to bang it off the end boards and into the slot. He got caught a little on the first goal, but he came back and played a great game."
The Saints, 10-10-3 on the year and 3-5-3 in league play will try to complete the weekend road sweep when they play at Harvard on Saturday.