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Captain Hughes, locals power Saints in win at Harvard, 5-1

St. Lawrence scored five goals, including three in the first period and two on as many power-play opportunities, on 22 shots en route to a 5-1 win over Harvard on Saturday night at Bright-Landry Hockey Center.

Greg Carvel
Greg Carvel
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- St. Lawrence didn't exactly pour on the shots but it certainly put the puck on and in the net when it mattered most on Saturday night.

The Saints scored five goals, including three in the first period and two on as many power-play opportunities, on 22 shots en route to a 5-1 win over Harvard at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. The win gives SLU its second weekend sweep of the season in ECAC play and extends its unbeaten streak against the Crimson to six games (5-0-1).

"We caught a Harvard team that was pretty undermanned, missing a lot of their good players," Saints head coach Greg Carvel said. "I took that into account, but I really liked the way our team came out."

In the first period, the Saints benefitted from the puck luck Harvard had received for much of the season as they scored three times on 11 shots to take command quickly.

Senior captain Gunnar Hughes got the scoring going 7:02 into the proceedings, taking a pass from junior Tommy Thompson for a pretty wrister from Harvard senior Steve Michalek's left side faceoff circle.

"These games always mean a little bit more," the Westwood, Mass. native and Salisbury School product said. "I feel like me and my brother (former SLU All-American defenseman George) have always had our best games against Harvard. I just get that extra fuel when we play these guys and build on it every year."

The crowd of 3,095 included many St. Lawrence alumni and the families of five New England native Saint players, but Hughes' contingent probably took the top prize.

"Everyone was here," the younger Hughes said with a smile. "Grandmother, brother, dad, uncles, everyone. It's an easy trip for them; easier than the North Country."

"We've got a lot of New England guys ... and it's fun to come back here," Carvel said. "It's a fun place to play because Harvard plays an up-tempo, fast game and we like to play the same way."

Second-year defenseman Gavin Bayreuther doubled the visitors' lead at 13:29 as he buried a wrist shot for his fifth goal of the season after taking a diagonal cross-ice feed from junior assistant captain Brian Ward.

St. Lawrence's third goal, at the 14:49 mark, forced Michalek from the net. After sophomore Mike Graham took a shot from the high slot, the rebound bounced off the Crimson netminder's back and into the crease where senior assistant captain Patrick Doherty was there to pounce for his sixth strike of the year.

"We play hard, we play fast and we really try to outwill teams," Carvel said. "That was our plan tonight. I thought in the first period maybe they weren't ready to play. We were ready to play and got some bounces and got ahead."

The Crimson looked to have broken the shutout just a couple minutes into the second period as sophomore Devin Tringale jammed home a rebound on a mad scramble in front of SLU freshman Kyle Hayton.

After a lengthy review, it was deemed that Hayton was interfered with by a Harvard body as he was unable to recover to his left and make a stop. The shutout did break at the 9:04 marker as sophomore centerman Tyler Moy tipped home sophomore Luke Esposito's shot from the high slot in heavy traffic in front.

Moy, a native of San Diego, Calif., has filled in very nicely for injured sophomore Sean Malone on the top line. The goal was his third in the last four games and extended his point streak to seven games.

"The puck just found the net too easily for them in the first period," Harvard head coach Ted Donato said. "I thought our response in the second period was excellent. We came out and played hard, but in the third period I thought they were opportunistic."

Despite just a 3-1 score, the game was very much in hand after two periods but the Saints tallied twice more in the final frame against freshman backup Merrick Madsen who tallied 11 saves in his collegiate debut.

Harvard junior Brian Hart delivered a heavy hit to the head of SLU sophomore Drew Smolcynski, resulting in a major power play on which Ward threw in a pretty wrister from the middle of the left circle at 1:56. Sophomore Alex Dahl concluded the scoring with ten minutes to play on a shot from the nearly the exact same spot.

When all was said and done, Hayton made 46 saves on 47 shots, the second-highest total of his career, in his 11th win of the season. The first four goals his offense scored came off the sticks of four New Englanders, two from Massachusetts (Hughes and Ward) and two from New Hampshire (Bayreuther and Doherty).

After their second loss in three games, the Crimson return to the road next weekend with road games at Cornell and Colgate. SLU returns home to Canton, N.Y. to host New England foes Yale and Brown.