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College hockey: Historic season for St. Lawrence’s Carey


CANTON — As a student of history, Greg Carey is hoping to make some of his own in his senior year at St. Lawrence University.

Known for his scoring and offensive prowess on the ice for the Saints, Carey easily could have forgone his senior season and tested free agency in professional hockey.

However, he wanted to finish his studies at the school, particularly in American history, especially the Civil War era.

“This year I’m working on an honors project to try and graduate with honors in history,” said the 23-year-old Carey. “So far it’s been my favorite subject in school. For my senior thesis, I’m working on Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass and their separate roads and the kind of untold conversations they had working toward the Emancipation Proclamation.”

It was one of the main reasons why Carey decided to stay in the north country.

“I was going to be an English major, but I felt that I enjoyed history more so with the content of the stuff I was reading,” said Carey, a native of Hamilton, Ontario. “Coming here, it opens you up to so many different types of history. ... I’ve definitely learned a lot of new things in terms of different kinds of history. It’s kind of been an eye opener, but a lot of fun as well.”

Carey, one of the nation’s top forwards last year, also calls college hockey “a lot of fun” and hopes to finish his collegiate career on a strong note as the Saints open the season by hosting Maine at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Appleton Arena.

He enters this campaign after leading the country last year in goals (28) and power-play goals (14). With 23 assists, he finished in a tie for fourth place in points (51).

Along with Canton native and fellow All-American Kyle Flanagan, Carey became the first two Saints to garner Hobey Baker finalist recognition in the same season.

“It’s kind of hard to put in words,” Carey said of the Hobey Baker award consideration. “Not only was it great for us individually, I think it was great for the team and program as well. ... It’s pretty special.”

Carey is one of only eight Saints bestowed with Hobey Baker award finalist status in the history of the program.

“I’m just happy to come back and maybe have another shot at it,” said Carey, who is also the program’s first returning All-American since Pete Lappin in 1988. “But that’s not what I’m focused on coming into this season — I’m just focused on my play and performance and everything else comes secondary.”

The Saints sure hope history repeats itself this season for the slick-skating and high-scoring winger, who possesses “an NHL shot,” according to St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel.

“Obviously leading the country in goals and being one of the top scorers in the nation, obviously these days guys like that don’t last long before an NHL team scoops them up,” Carvel said of Carey, who scored six-game winning goals in the 2012-13 campaign. “But a couple things with Greg — I think he would admit that he’s not quite ready for the NHL. But you have to give him credit, he’s working toward that and he knows what he has to do to get better as a player.”

But more important to Carey, he’s set on helping to lead St. Lawrence to an ECAC Hockey title, which would include an appearance in Lake Placid as the league has moved its championship weekend back to historic Herb Brooks Arena.

“I just come in with the mindset of wanting to help the team win games,” Carey said. “If this means if I have to put as many pucks as I can in the back of the net, I’ll try and do that, or if means I have to play more physical, I’ll do that.”

Carey, who stands at 5-foot-11 and is listed a 195 pounds, has compiled a three-year total of 66 goals and 62 assists for 128 points and is on pace to become the program’s all-time leader in goals and points.

“He’s really worked on his conditioning,” Carvel said. “He really committed himself over the summer to get into the best shape that he can; he looks quicker on the ice and I’m excited to see what he can do with that extra step. Because it was hard to stop him before and I’m sure he’ll have a lot opportunities this year.”

Carey is the first Saint player to lead the team in scoring in three consecutive seasons since Rich Peverley from 2001-04 and is bidding to become the first player in program history to lead the team in scoring in four straight years.

“I just think coach has got the right system and he’s got the right foundation where players don’t have to try and do too much individually,” Carey said. “It’s just coming in every night knowing your role and trying to perform your role.”

His 28 goals last season were the most for a Saint since Burke Murphy scored 33 in 1995-96 and are tied for fifth on the all-time list.

As the only senior returning from last season’s first-team All ECAC team, Carey was of course selected as an all-league preseason player.

“Last year obviously didn’t end the way we wanted it to,” Carey said of the Saints’ ECAC quarterfinal series defeat to eventual national champion Yale. “We obviously have a couple sophomores who will play a lot this year and we’ve got some talented freshmen — I think we brought in some players with a lot of speed and good hockey sense. I think we’re going to have a real successful season.”

Carey will also get the chance to play with younger brother Mike Carey for the first time in competitive hockey.

“Growing up we’ve always wanted to play on the same team,” Greg Carey said. “ ... I think at this level to be able to play with your brother and I think Gunnar (Hughes), Pat (Raley) and Kyle (Flanagan) can all attest to it ... I think it’s pretty special.”

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