GRAND FORKS, N.D. The pre-game publicity in the Grand Forks, ND newspapers and on the message board in palatial Ralph Engelstad Arena was all about St. Lawrence University senior wing Greg Carey and his scoring prowess.
Carey lived up to all the billing and then some for the Saints on Friday night as he scored one goal and assisted on three others as the Saints beat the University of North Dakota 5-2 before of a crowd of 10,681.
The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Saints (8-5-2) against North Dakota (4-7-2), was the first in Grand Forks in series history and just the second in 12 meetings between the two teams.
Carey, who was named first star in the game, took over the national scoring lead with his four-point night and leads the nation in assists with 18. He now has 28 points in 15 games and a three-point lead on BCs Johnny Gaudreau in the national scoring race. All three of his assists came on the power play as the Saints scored three power-play goals for the third time this season and topped off a strong special teams performance with a eight-for-nine performance on the penalty kill.
Jeremy Wick scored twice, including a shorthanded goal as part of a three-point evening for the winger.
Carey, who now has a 10-game scoring streak, set up the only goal of the first period when he snapped a quick power-play wrister at UND goalie Clarke Saunders, and while Saunders was able to stop that shot, he couldnt prevent Matt Carey from putting the rebound away for his ninth of the season with Wick also assisting at 5:32 of the first period.
UND tied it on a power play of its own as Adam Tambellinis goal mouth pass deflected past Saint goalie Matt Weninger off Connor Gaarders skate just 55 second into the second period, but the Saints regained the lead as Justin Baker fed Wick, who was all alone in front of Saunders for a power play goal at 12:31 of the second with Carey also assisting.
Baker then made it a 3-1 game after two periods when he collected Greg Careys rebound at the side of the net and deposited it for his fifth of the season with Gavin Bayreuther getting the second assist.
Defenseman Thompson Keaton scored from the slot, sneaking the puck just inside the post and under a sliding Saint defender 4:36 into the second to make it a 3-2 game, but Chris Martin made a big play, taking the puck from Matt Carey, circling the net and feeding Greg Carey who worked his way free in front for a point-blank shot and his 10th of the year at 12:52 for a 4-2 Saint lead.
UND got two late power plays, but Wick put the seal on the win when he took the puck from defenseman Eric Sweetman, skated up the side boards under pressure and put the puck into the empty net for a shorthanded empty netter with 1:35 to play for the 5-2 final.
Weninger finished with 21 saves for the Saints, stopping nine third period shots while Saunders made 20 saves for North Dakota which generated only five shots on nine power play chances.
The two teams will conclude the two-game set at 8:07 tonight, Eastern time.