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SLU men’s hockey drilled at Union, 5-1

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SCHENECTADY — The St. Lawrence University men’s hockey team’s hopes for earning a playoff bye took a hit on Friday night.

Union College received a goal from five different players and went on to defeat the Saints, 5-1, in a crucial ECAC Hockey game at Messa Rink.

However, St. Lawrence (16-13-4, 9-8-4) is still alive in its quest to achieve a first-round playoff bye.

The Saints played without senior captain Kyle Flanagan, who was sidelined after undergoing surgery to remove his appendix on Tuesday.

“Not having Kyle Flanagan in the lineup is not an excuse for why we lost,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “We just didn’t play as well as we needed to, and we didn’t play with desperation.”

The Saints enter tonight’s regular-season finale at Rensselaer in a three-way tie for fourth place in the ECAC with Union (16-12-5) and Dartmouth. All three have identical 9-8-4 league records.

The Engineers clinched second place with a 5-0 triumph over Clarkson, and Yale moved up into third as it rallied to defeat Colgate in overtime, 4-3.

St. Lawrence needs to win tonight and hope for some help to finish in the conference’s top four.

“Like I’ve been saying all year long,” Carvel said. “I’m more concerned about the way we play than the wins and losses. The past three games we didn’t play the way we did when we went on a run. We didn’t have the energy or focus that we needed tonight.”

St. Lawrence junior winger Greg Carey, who earlier in the day was honored as the nation’s player of the month for February, had his school-record and nation-leading goal streak halted at 11 games.

The Dutchmen, who clinched home ice for at least the first round of the playoffs, jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first 4 minutes, 5 seconds of the game.

“They came out with more energy and more determination than we did,” Carvel said of Union. “They dictated the play early on and got pucks to the net. Give them credit, they played well and we didn’t play with the tempo that we wanted to.”

Defenseman Charlie Vasaturo scored just 45 seconds into the game as his shot deflected of a Saints’ stick and past goalie Matt Weninger for a 1-0 lead, and Massena native Matt Hatch snapped a shot past Weninger at 4:05.

Union led 3:38 into the second period when Kyle Bodie scored on a Shane Gostisbehere rebound. Weninger argued that the net had been off its moorings when the goal was scored, but video review upheld the score.

St. Lawrence drew within 3-1 as sophomore Chris Martin broke in alone and snuck the puck inside the near post at 9:10 of the third period.

Union responded as defenseman Mat Bodie caught the Saints in a line change and scored at 13:01 and Wayne Simpson converted on his own rebound at 18:13.

Weninger finished with 41 saves for St. Lawrence and goalie Troy Grosenick, who left the game with an injury after he gave up the Saints’ lone goal, had 17 stops.

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