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St. Lawrence defeats Harvard, 3-1

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — St. Lawrence University’s men’s hockey team put together one of its most complete games of the season in defeating Harvard on Friday night.

Greg Carey and Chris Martin each contributed a goal and an assist and Matt Weninger made 19 saves as the Saints turned back the Crimson, 3-1 in an ECAC Hockey game at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center.

St. Lawrence outshot Harvard, 30-19, but Crimson goalie Raphael Girard, who had not given up a goal in his past two starts, turned in big saves and got a lot of help from the crossbar, posts and his defense to keep Harvard in the game.

“I thought we played very well and I think we controlled the game for almost the entire 60 minutes,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “I thought we a much more physical team which allowed us to win a lot of battles and we played with good speed.”

It was the third straight win by the Saints in the series between the two teams and fourth in the past five meetings.

The Saints will (5-2-2, 1-0-2) will play at Dartmouth tonight, while Harvard (2-2-1, 1-2-1) will host Clarkson.

St. Lawrence got just the start it was looking for when Martin ended Girard’s two-game scoreless streak 1 minute, 20 seconds into the game, scoring from Riley Austin and Carey, tipping home Austin’s initial shot from the point.

With Weninger handling everything Harvard sent his way, the Saints made it 2-0 at 13:07 of the first when Martin fed Carey as the senior stepped over the Harvard blue line, and Carey’s wrister from just inside the top of the circle beat Girard cleanly for Carey’s fifth goal of the year.

“We got a lead tonight, which was important,” Carvel said. “We were up 2-0 and they scored a power-play goal and then we scored the next shift. The score was 3-1, but I think we outshot and outchanced them heavily.”

The Saints completely dominated the second period, outshooting Harvard 14-4. But Girard had a little luck and the Crimson found themselves right back in it when they scored their first power-play goal of the season to cut the Saint lead to 2-1 before St. Lawrence regained its two-goal lead with a score by sophomore Alex Hagen.

“That was a big goal,” Carvel said. “We had some good transition and we got an odd-man rush and Eric Sweetman got a good shot off point blank and Alex Hagen was there on the rebound.”

St. Lawrence hit two posts and had the puck behind Girard three times in the period, but couldn’t get it to cross the goal line.

The Crimson, scoreless in its first 15 power plays of the season through the first three games, was stopped on their first power play of Friday’s game, but cashed in on its second when sophomore Jimmy Vesey tipped in a shot by Luke Esposito at 13:41 to cut the Saints’ lead to 2-1.

The Saints cashed in at 19:10 when defenseman Eric Sweetman put a hard shot on net that Girard kicked out, but Hagen put in the rebound for his second of the season. Saints captain Kyle Essery also assisted on the goal.

Neither team scored in the third period, although the Saints’ power play, which was scoreless in three tries, created some strong chances.

Saints goalie Matt Weninger made 18 saves. “Matt was real solid,” Carvel said of Weninger. “He battled to make saves more so than in the last couple games.”

Girard finished with 27 saves for the Crimson.

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