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Skate with a Saint Sunday

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This Sunday the Saints will hold their annual "Skate with a Saint" event.
It will be held between 1-2:30 p.m. at Appleton Arena.

Below is my profile of Kyle Flanagan:

CANTON — Looking at St. Lawrence captain Kyle Flanagan, one doesn’t necessarily see a hockey player.

The Canton native is small at 5 feet, 9 inches and 170 pounds.

Former teammate, linemate and north country native, Massena’s Aaron Bogosian recently tweeted, “75 mph winds in the north country. Wouldn’t want to be Kyle Flanagan right now. Kid might blow away.”

But, Flanagan is among the best forwards in the country, making up for size in vision, superior stick-handling and grit. He’s overcome various injuries over his three seasons with the Saints to compile a remarkable 88 points in 86 career games on 27 goals and 61 assists. He is in line to become the first Saint since Mike McKenzie in 2009-10 to reach 100 career points, possibly by season’s end.
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This year is by far his statistical best. Flanagan is averaging 1.67 points per game, which would lead the nation if he hadn’t missed eight games with an upper body injury thereby failing to meet the minimum games played requirement. In 15 games played, Flanagan has 25 points.

“You’re not going to have the success I’ve been having if my linemates aren’t involved,” he said. “Part of it is just confidence. Each year, you get a little more confidence and it’s like you’ve been there for. You’ve already been through it.”

Flanagan has always been lauded by ECAC Hockey coaches for his playmaking. SLU head coach Joe Marsh predicted last season that Flanagan would eventually be an All-American.

The national recognition hasn’t come easily. That’s changing with Flanagan’s stellar junior season. He is listed among the 77 players in the initial pool for the Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s highest honor.

Voting is currently open to fans and will have a small impact on the finalist selections. As of press time, Flanagan has 4 percent of the voting or around 1,500 votes. He is currently tied for fourth, percentage-wise. Fans can cast their vote by visiting http://www.hobeybakeraward.com/ and selecting “Vote for Hobey.” Clarkson goalie Paul Karpowich is also among the initial candidates.

“It’s great (Flanagan) is getting some recognition in that aspect,” associate head coach Mike Hurlbut said. “Ideally, our record would be much improved and he’d get all kinds of attention. He’s certainly deserving of that.”

Even with missing eight games, Flanagan’s 25 points leads the team by five over Greg Carey. Flanagan has accounted for 18.5 percent of SLU’s goal scoring and 16.7 percent of its total points heading into its game with Clarkson today.

“Even though our record doesn’t show how we’ve been playing,” Flanagan said. “I think the teammates have played a big part in where I am statistically.”

NORTH COUNTRY REUNION

The north country is well-represented at the Clarkson-St. Lawrence rivalry game Saturday at Cheel Arena.

Hurlbut hails from Massena. Then, there’s SLU assistant coach Greg Carvel, a Canton native, and, of course, Flanagan, also from Canton.

Clarkson’s roster also feature’s several north country connections. Sophomore Alex Boak comes from Norwood and Jake Morley played high school hockey in Ogdensburg.

“It’s great,” Flanagan said. “I skate with Jake in the summer. We used to play together in minor hockey and travel teams in the summer. I guess it just fits that we went to schools down the street. It’s fun.”

Hurlbut, having played as a north country native for SLU and as high as the NHL, believes playing in front of a hometown crowd only enhances the experience.

“There’s nothing like playing in front of your friends and family,” Hurlbut said. “It might add a little pressure, but it’s also a great motivator to play well every night because you’re going to hear about it when you get home.”

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