CANTON – Amid the emotion of Joe Marsh night which included a pregame talk from the coaching legend the St. Lawrence hockey team accomplished its main objective on Friday: win its home opener.
The Saints achieved this in efficient manner as senior captain Kyle Flanagan registered a three-point night and junior goalie Matt Weninger recorded the shutout as St. Lawrence blanked Alabama-Huntsville, 4-0, in a nonconference meeting at Appleton Arena.
Some of us here played for Joe, so this was a great night to be able to recognize him like we did, Flanagan said. He gave us a nice talk before the game and we wanted to go out and win this one for him.
St. Lawrence also avoided a letdown after being off for nearly two weeks after recording a pair of wins at Maine two weekends ago.
I knew that they were going to compete hard, St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. But I was a little surprised, but pleased that we really did that for the whole game. The guys are playing well and with a lot of confidence right now.
In doing so, the Saints won their home opener for the first time in four seasons.
Obviously we had to balance the emotions of the night, said senior and assistant captain George Hughes said. We did a good job out there and we were focused throughout the game.
Carvel was impressed with the Saints start and their effort throughout the game.
We really played a complete game and I was happy to see that, Carvel said.
Flanagan scored a goal and assisted on two others for St. Lawrence (4-1), which has won three of its past four games.
Anthony made 21 saves to record his second shutout in three games. With Anthony in net, the Saints have yielded only one goal in their past three outings.
After sophomore Gunnar Hughes provided St. Lawrence a 1-0 advantage in the first period, the former St. Lawrence coach was honored with an on-ice ceremony prior to the start of the second period.
This was huge, especially with the festivities of Joe Marsh night and everything hes brought to this program, sophomore Chris Martin said. It was just nice to come out and play good hockey and make him proud. We wanted to show him the program is going in a great direction.
Following the festivities, the Saints struck for three unanswered goals in the second period within a span of nearly 10 1/2 minutes.
I think that second period may have been our best, Flanagan said. We really came out and played well and played our game.
After Patrick Doherty was hauled down on a shorthanded breakaway attempt, Greg Carey finished off a feed in front from Pat Raley by one-timing the puck past goalie John Griggs at 5:20.
Flanagan, who entered the night as the nations leader in points and was tied for first in goals, followed with an unassisted tally at 8:01 as he stripped the puck from a defender deep in the Chargers zone and lifted the puck with a backhander over Griggs and just under the crossbar.
Defenseman Jordan Dewey then got into the act with his first goal of the season with Flanagan assisting at 10:35.
St. Lawrence led 1-0 in the opening period as the Hughes brothers teamed up, with George Hughes sending a backhand pass to Gunnar Hughes, who scored into the open right side of the net at 14:07.
Weve got a system and everybodys buying into it, Carvel said. This was a team that we knew we should beat, and I thought we played a pretty complete game.
Weninger made 11 saves in the third period en route to recording his third career shutout.
Weve only given up a goal in our last three games, Carvel said. I think thats because weve been playing a pretty solid system out there and Matt has been playing well. Hes so reliable for us back there.
Griggs made 37 saves for the Chargers (0-6-1) in the first meeting between the two teams.
St. Lawrence and Alabama-Huntsville meet again at 7 tonight at Appleton Arena.