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Former SLU hockey standouts squaring off in Stanley Cup finals

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CANTON - The NHL’s 2013 Stanley Cup Finals got underway last night in Chicago as the hometown Blackhawks rallied for a 4-3 triple overtime victory in game one against the Boston Bruins.

Though the series is far from over, there is one thing for certain: A former member of the St. Lawrence University men’s hockey team will hoist Lord Stanley’s cup.

Rich Peverley, who won the cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011, now finds himself squaring off against a fellow Laurentian in Chicago’s Brandon Bollig.

“Seeing two of our former players performing so well at the highest level of hockey and on its biggest stage gives great pride to former Skating Saints and all St. Lawrence University alumni,” said St. Lawrence head coach Greg Carvel, who coached in the Stanley Cup finals with the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks. “Both Rich and Brandon were outstanding players while at St. Lawrence and continue to serve as great ambassadors for our hockey program.”

Peverley and Bollig had an early run-in during the first period, and both players had great scoring bids in the contest. Peverley, a former Saints captain who totaled 117 points (44g, 73a) in college, nearly won the game in the overtime sessions on several occasions, while Bollig and his line mates nearly scored on a tremendous shift that had numerous quality chances. Bollig, who played two seasons at Appleton Arena and finished with 38 points (13g,25a), finished with a team-high nine hits in the contest and matched Peverley’s three shots on goal in game one.

The St. Lawrence University connections extend into the announcer’s booth in the Stanley Cup Finals. Pierre McGuire, who works as an on-ice announcer for NBC’s broadcasts, worked as an assistant coach at St. Lawrence from 1988 to 1990.

“Bollig is in the lineup for the Hawks because of his toughness and board play,” said McGuire, who mentioned St. Lawrence University during the game one broadcast when talking about the Hawks’ left-winger. “The Hawks see the Bruins as a physical team that can out-hit you and maybe even intimidate you. Bollig can do the same thing for Chicago and the Bruins know it.”

McGuire added, “Rich Peverley plays such a smart game. His speed and skill make him dangerous, but it’s his hockey-sense that makes him so valuable to the Bruins. This is going to be a great Stanley Cup final and both St. Lawrence University men are going to be right in the middle for the fray.”

“Both Rich and Brandon have worked extremely hard to earn their way to their positions in the NHL,” added Coach Carvel. “We hope to continue producing future NHL players here on the St. Lawrence University campus.”

St. Lawrence’s Kyle Flanagan, a First Team All-American who was top-10 in the nation in scoring, was signed to an NHL contract with the Philadelphia Flyers following the Saints’ season. Flanagan played the final portion of the professional season with the Adirondack Phantoms, totaling seven points in only 13 games.

Throughout the Stanley Cup finals, follow the hashtag #SLUintheCup on Twitter to converse with fellow fans and alumni about Peverley, Bollig and their respective teams. Game two is scheduled for Saturday at 8p.m.

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