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Carey leads SLU’s upset over No. 1 Quinnipiac

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HAMDEN, Conn. — Facing the No. 1-ranked team in the country on Friday night, this time St. Lawrence University didn’t flinch.

Junior Greg Carey scored a pair of goals and goalie Matt Weninger made 31 saves as the Saints knocked off Quinnipiac, 2-1, in ECAC Hockey play before a sellout crowd of 3,764 at TD Bank Sports Center to halt the Bobcats’ unbeaten streak at 21 games.

St. Lawrence (14-11-4, 7-6-4) handed Quinnipiac (21-4-4, 14-1-2) its first loss since early November and its first league setback as the Bobcats’ nation-best 18-0-3 string ended.

“It’s a huge win for us, obviously by beating the No. 1 in the country,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “I think it shows how far we’ve come as a team this season to get a win against such a strong team as Quinnipiac.”

St. Lawrence, which is 6-1-2 over its past nine games, moved up into a tie for fourth place in the ECAC standings with Union. The top four finishers receive a first-round bye in the playoffs, and the Saints currently own the tiebreaker versus the Dutchmen.

“It was real tight game and there weren’t a ton of scoring chances,” Carvel said. “It was a real challenge for us because Quinnipiac isn’t the most skilled team, but they are very strong in their own zone. But we met that challenge and I thought our execution was great.”

The Saints have a history of faring well against No. 1-ranked teams as they defeated top-ranked Boston University, 2-0, in November 1996.

St. Lawrence seized a 1-0 lead against Quinnipiac 4:37 into the first period as Carey scored on a Jeremy Wick rebound.

“The first goal was important because we scored early in the game against a team where goals are hard to come by,” Carvel said. “That really showed that we had come to play and we got the momentum.”

The Bobcats drew even at 1-1 on Jordan Samuels-Thomas’ tally at 13:47.

“We talked in the locker room after the second period about digging even deeper,” Carvel said. “We did that and found a way to win. I give our guys a ton of credit, we blocked shots, we worked hard and we made great puck decisions all night long. We played very similar to the way Quinnipiac plays and we got it done.”

Only 2:30 into the third period, Carey scored the go-ahead goal and eventual game-winner by taking the puck out of the corner and lifting a shot over goalie Eric Hartzell.

“Greg has really scored some big goals for us,” Carvel said of Carey, who leads the nation with 22 goals and extended his goal streak to eight games. “And that one was another great effort with a beautiful shot.”

Weninger stopped all 24 shots he faced after the second period, including all 17 in the third.

“Matt was real solid for us,” Carvel said. ... late in the game — the last five minutes, they really poured it on. They had a power play and they pulled their goalie with about two minutes to go. They put a lot of pucks to the net and had some really good scoring chances.”

St. Lawrence killed off all five Quinnipiac power plays, including two in the final period.

Hartzell finished with 12 saves for Quinnipiac, which last lost on Nov. 6 — a 2-1 setback against American International.

St. Lawrence concludes its road trip by playing at Princeton, which lost 3-2 to Clarkson on Friday, at 7 tonight.

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