Flanagan MVP, Saints Tourney Champs in Shootout
Greg Carey scored the championship deciding goal in a shootout on Saturday night as St. Lawrence University won its second New Year's Eve championship at Dartmouth College after the Saints and host Big Green skated to a 2-2 tie in the final of the 2011 Ledyard Bank Classic.
Tournament MVP Kyle Flanagan scored both Saint goals in Saturday's 2-2 championship game tie, completing a six-point weekend. He was joined on the all tourney team by defenseman George Hughes who had two goals and two assists in the two tourney games and Greg Carey, who had four assists in the two games in addition to scoring the decisive shootout goal.
The 7-10-2 Saints who tied Merrimack 6-6 and won a nine-round shootout to make the title game on Friday, were perfect in the shootout to decide the tournament title. Chris Martin and Jeremy Wick scored the first two for the Saints and with Dartmouth successful on two of its three shots, Carey won it with a snap shot under the crossbar.
The Saints made their fourth Ledyard Bank Classic/Auld Lang Syne Tournament championship game in four tries and played host Dartmouth for the third time in those four appearances. Dartmouth beat the Saints 4-3 in overtime to win the 1980 title and the Saints edged Dartmouth 3-2 to take the crown in 1996. The Saints previous appearance in the tournament was in 2006 when they lost to North Dakota 4-2 in the championship game.
"I think we can take a lot out of the weekend," said Saint associate head coach Mike Hurlbut. "We created some good chances tonight, and although we didn't convert on all of them, we had a good weekend offensively. I was also very pleased with our special teams as we had a lot of success on the power play and did a good job on the kill. We've got a little unbeaten streak going and we'd like to keep it rolling through the final two non-league games next weekend."
Neither team scored in the first period with the Saints holding a 10-5 edge in shots on goal thanks to a trio of power play opportunities. Morris did give up a couple of huge rebounds, but the Saints were unable to corral them, and the sophomore netminder made a huge save on Saint freshman Patrick Doherty off a Kyle Flanagan feed with just over a minute to go in the first.
Dartmouth opened the scoring at 11:21 of the second period, taking advantage of a bad break for the Saints. Mark Armstrong took the puck deep on a SLU penalty kill and sent a pass to a trailing Jeremy Wick. His pass, however, was a hard one and skipped over the stick of Wick, setting up a Dartmouth three-on-two. Junior wing Dustin Walsh scored his third of the year from the center slot on the power play to finish off the rush, giving the Big Green the lead.
The Saint power play answered that goal with two of its own, both by Flanagan and both in the opening seconds of the man-up chance. Flanagan's first of the game and eighth of the season came at 16:03 as he one-timed a pass from George Hughes past Dartmouth goalie Cab Morris with Greg Carey also assisting just 15 seconds into the power play. Flanagan's second of the game was scored 17 seconds into a power play as he picked up a loose puck in the center slot and whipped it inside the left post with Chris Martin and Carey assisting at 18:35.
Dartmouth came out strong in the third period and while the Saints were able to hold them off with some big defensive plays and some big stops by goalie Matt Weninger, sophomore wing Eric Robinson finally tied the game with 4:55 to go in regulation, putting away a rebound.
Weninger came up big early in the overtime, stuffing Matt Lindblad after a Saint giveaway just about a minute in and finished his night with 26 saves. Morris had 24 for the Big Green, two of them in overtime.