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Rookies spark SLU men to hockey win at Ferris State

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BIG RAPIDS, MI - St. Lawrence University rookies continued to make major contributions to the success of the Saint men’s hockey program as freshman wing Drew Smolcynski scored two goals in his first collegiate game and the Saints improved to 3-0 on the young season with a 3-2 win at Ferris State on Friday.

The Saints earned their first victory against the Bulldogs in Big Rapids and their first since a 5-4 win at the Catamount Classic in 2008 with a come-from-behind effort and yet another big night from senior goaltender Matt Weninger. Weninger, making his 52nd career start and the 101st appearance of his career, stopped 24 of 26 Ferris State shots to backstop the Saints to the victory.

Ferris State took a 2-0 lead early in the second as Weninger made a great save on a shorthanded breakaway by Corey Kane, but no one was able to pick up Justin DeMartino who trailed the play and Kane got the rebound to DeMartino who snapped his second of the season into the unguarded cage at 1:07.

The rest of the scoring was all Saints.…as SLU scored three straight to put away the come-from-behind win.

Smolcynski scored his first collegiate goal at the 3:31 mark of the second period as he was in the slot to the left of Ferris goalie Charles Williams and snapped a shot between Williams and the post off a feed from the opposite side of the next by Alex Hagen. Matt Carey also picked up his first collegiate point with an assist on the play. The Saints tied it when Pat Doherty worked the puck free from a defender, got it to Gunnar Hughes who and Brian Ward, who was alone at the top of the blue in front of Williams and fired a shot over the goalie’s shoulder for his third goal in as many games to make it 2-2 at 17:21.

Both teams had chances, and both goaltenders made big saves through the first 13 minutes of the final period with the Saints establishing a slight edge in play. Hughes then started the game-winning play when he curled out in front and put a shot on Williams that was kicked aside, but Smolcynski was at the other side of the net and tucked the rebound back into the cage for his second of the night and the game winner at 13:36.

Ferris State pulled Williams for an extra attacker in the final 36 seconds, but could not get a shot through the Saint defense.

The Saints finished with a 29-26 edge in shots on goal and neither team scored in five power play chances, although the Bulldogs did have the shorthander.

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