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Youth is served for St. Lawrence

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CANTON — The Saints are receiving plenty of contributions from their “new help” thus far this season.

Through four games, newcomers to the St. Lawrence men’s hockey program have scored 10 of the team’s 14 goals.

In addition, with 17 points, including 10 goals and seven assists, this group has accounted for 46 percent of the Saints’ scoring heading into tonight’s nonconference game at 7 against Northeastern at Appleton Arena.

Leading the way among the new faces for St. Lawrence (3-1) is sophomore center Brian Ward, a transfer from Dartmouth, who leads the team in goals (3) and has at least a point in all four games.

“One of the best things about our season so far is how quickly our freshmen have adapted and filled holes left by players that we lost [to graduation] and contributed,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “I was very happy last weekend as all six of our goals were scored by new guys to our program.”

Ward and freshman defenseman Gavin Bayreuther (2-2-4) are tied for second in points with senior winger Jeremy Wick (1-3-4).

Youth was served last weekend for St. Lawrence as freshmen Drew Smolcynski (2-0-2), Matt Carey (1-1-2), Woody Hudson (1-2-2) and Eric Sweetman (1-1-2) EACH scored their first collegiate goal.

“At the same time, a lot of them are older kids who played in the USHL for at least a year and some of them for two years,” Carvel said. “Matt Carey is a redshirt and Brian Ward is a transfer, so they’re older kids, it’s not like they’re right out of high school. We expected them to be ready to contribute and so far they’ve done that.”

Smolcynski generated a pair of goals in his collegiate debut in St. Lawrence’s 3-2 victory at Ferris State on Friday.

“That was huge,” Carvel said of the start of Smolcynski, who was selected as ECAC Hockey’s rookie of the week. “He’s what we thought he would be — he’s a very smart, he’s very skilled and he has excellence. Right now as a undersized guy, its a matter of how quickly he can find the pace of the game and win the battles out there.”

Senior Greg Carey, coming off an All-American campaign in which he was named as a Hobey Baker award finalist, leads St. Lawrence in points (6) and assists (4).

The Saints will host Northeastern (4-0) in a two-game set which concludes on Saturday night.

St. Lawrence, which has scored 14 goals in four games this season while allowing 10, is off to a 3-1 start for the second consecutive season.

The Saints opened their campaign with two wins in Canton against Maine, marking the second straight year they swept an early-season two game series with the Black Bears.

“With the teams we’ve played, we’re very happy to be at 3-1,” Carvel said. “Obviously Northeastern is a good team with some high-end skill that we have to respect and be able to contain. I’m very happy with where we are, but with a young team we’ve got to continue to take steps to get better.”

Last season, the Saints extended this quick start into a 6-1-1 mark last year and an early-season five-game unbeaten streak.

St. Lawrence went on to defeat Northeastern, 5-2 in Boston last Nov. 23.

This season, the Saints have scored only two power-play goals from 17 chances (11.8 percent), while its penalty killing has allowed four goals from 19 opportunities (78.9 percent).

Northeastern, which is off to its best start since the 1993-94 campaign is tied with Miami (Ohio) and Minnesota for a nation-best 20 goals and their goals per game average (5.0) is tied for fifth in the country.

The Huskies, who are ranked No. 20 in the nation, swept a home-and-home series with Holy Cross last weekend after sweeping Alabama Huntsville at home to open the season.

The Huskies are the second Hockey East opponent the Saints will face during the regular season as they’ll face Vermont two times, playing in Burlington, Vt. on Dec. 14 and will host the Catamounts on Jan. 7.

The two-game set with Northeastern will be part of St. Lawrence’s Hockey Alumni Weekend with Saturday’s game serving as Alumni Night.

As part of the festivities, former Saint All America Brian McFarlane, who went on to gain fame as a broadcaster on Hockey Night in Canada and as an author of a number of hockey books, will speak in the Winston Room at the Sullivan Student Center at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The session with McFarlane is open to the public.

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