College hockey notes: Saints exceeding expectations

When the ECAC Hockey coaches and media preseason polls came out in September, St. Lawrence was picke
PHOTOGRAPHER:

When the ECAC Hockey coaches and media preseason polls came out in September, St. Lawrence was picked to finish 11th.

Saints coach Greg Carvel thought it was an accurate assessment because the team had lost four of their top five scorers — Greg Carey, Matt Carey, Jeremy Wick and Justin Baker, who combined for 162 points. There wasn’t much promise offensively for the Saints.

“I think we are where I expected to be [in the preseason polls],” Carvel said at the time. “We lost significant scorers. We were a very explosive team last year. We lost four of our five top scorers. The outlook isn’t great because we’ll be a very young team.”

Well, the Saints won’t be finishing 11th. They are in second place with a 10-4 record, three points behind league-leading Quinnipiac. The Saints (14-10-2 overall) take a five-game winning streak into tonight’s game against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutein Canton.

Carvel, who is in his third season as head coach, didn’t see this coming.

“I’m very pleasantly surprised,” Carvel said. “I’m not going to lie and say that I thought we’d be here.”

Carvel can thank freshman goalie Kyle Hayton for that. Hayton has been a multiple winner of ECACH goalie and rookie of the week awards, and he was named the conference’s top goalie and rookie for January. He is 14-9-2 with a 1.98 goals-against average, a .938 save percentage and four shutouts. In ECACH play, Hayton is 10-4 with a 1.71 GAA, a .944 save percentage and two shutouts.

“Kyle Hayton has been outstanding for us in the net,” Carvel said. “We’re a very young team. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores, and early on in the season, he stood on his head until we found our identity. Now, he doesn’t have to stand on his head every night. I think we’re playing pretty well in front of him. He makes the big saves when we need it.

“Through this stretch, we’ve been very good defensively and starting to score a little more. The one-goal games we were losing in December and the beginning of January, now we’re on the positive side of that.”

BEANPOT FINAL

The semifinals of this season’s Beanpot tournament in Boston will go down as classics.

For starters, the games were moved to Tuesday because of Monday’s snowstorm. Then, the first semifinal between Boston University and Harvard went to double overtime before BU pulled out a 4-3 win on Danny O’Regan’s goal 2:18 into the second OT. The game lasted three hours, 39 minutes.

Harvard goalie Steve Michalek did everything he could to keep the Crimson in the game, stopping 63 shots. He made 16 saves in the third period, 18 in the first overtime and five in the second OT. BU outshot Harvard, 60-22, over the final 62:18 of the game after the Crimson had a 12-7 edge in the first period.

The second semifinal between Boston College and Northeastern didn’t begin until 9:25, 85 minutes past the original 8 p.m. start. The score was tied, 2-2, and it appeared overtime was looming, which meant the possibility of the game stretching into Wednesday morning.

But Dustin Darou scored with 1:34 left in regulation to give Northeastern a 3-2 win. The game ended at midnight, so, technically, the game finished Wednesday morning.

BU and Northeastern will meet Monday for the championship. The Terriers are seeking their 30th title, and first since 2009, when they defeated the Huskies.

While BU has the most titles, Northeastern has the fewest. It has won just four. The Huskies, who are playing in their third straight final, last captured the Beanpot in 1988.

In the women’s Beanpot semifinals Tuesday, Harvard crushed BU, 9-3, and BC beat Northeastern, 3-1. Harvard and BC meet in the final on Tuesday.

BOTTOM TEAMS TIE

Brown and Princeton, the bottom two teams in the ECACH, met for the first time this season last Saturday at Meehan Auditorium. Their combined records going into the game were 2-24 in ECACH play and 7-31-1 overall.

As fate would have it, the game ended in a 2-2 tie. Eric Robinson gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Brown took a 2-1 lead in the second on goals 42 seconds apart by Brandon Pfeil and Sam Lafferty. Jonathan Liau tied it for the Tigers late in the period.

The two teams meet again Feb. 20 at Princeton.

DOUBLE HAT TRICKS

It’s not often that you see two hat tricks in one game. It happened last Friday in the Quinnipiac-Brown game.

Landon Smith had three goals for Quinnipiac in its 5-3 victory. Mark Naclerio scored all of Brown’s goals. Smith scored twice in the first period and completed his hat trick 4:10 into the third. Naclerio had a goal in the second and two more in the third. His last goal came nearly four minutes after Smith’s tally.

BROWN SEMIFINALISTS

Six ECACH players are among the 20 semifinalists for the Walter Brown Award, which goes to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.

Harvard and Quinnipiac have two semifinalists each. The Crimson nominees are junior forwards and linemates Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo. The Bobcats represented are sophomore forward Sam Anas and senior defenseman Danny Federico.

The other ECACH players on the ballot are Yale sophomore goalie Alex Lyon and Dartmouth senior forward Eric Robinson.

The finalists and winner will be announced after the conference tournaments.

Categories: College Sports

Leave a Reply