CANTON — The sophomore slump is not a myth if you ask St. Lawrence University forward Greg Carey.
It's taken Carey, who had 23 goals as a freshman, nearly his entire sophomore season to return to that machine-like goal scoring.
He scored twice, including the game-winner, as the Saints held off Quinnipiac, 4-3, for its third straight ECAC Hockey win on Friday at Appleton Arena. It moved St. Lawrence into a tie for seventh in the conference.
Carey had six points and four goals in St. Lawrence's last three wins. When Carey scores, St. Lawrence is 4-2-1 this season. The Saints are undefeated when he scores twice.
“I've just been working harder,” Carey said. “(Assistant coach Greg) Carvel is big on deserving success and I just try to work hard and be deserving of success.”
Carey netted his 10th goal of the season on a shot through traffic from the center point at 13 minutes and 59 seconds of the first period. He capped St. Lawrence's scoring with the team's fourth goal at 11:36 of the second for a 4-0 lead. Justin Baker and Peter Child added scores only 35 seconds apart in the first two minutes of the second period for St. Lawrence.
Meanwhile, the Saints were again mired in penalties. They took 13 in total, giving Quinnipiac an unimaginable 10 power-play opportunities.
“Hopefully they're all out of our system now,” associate head coach Mike Hurlbut said. “We certainly got our share and I know it's frustrating for these guys.”
The Bobcats came in averaging just shy of 20 percent on the power-play conversions. If they had merely met that mark, they would have won.
“We missed an opportunity tonight,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “When you're 0-for-10, that's not a good sign. Our power play was not good tonight and St. Lawrence's penalty kill was really good. We just dug ourselves a hole.”
All the power plays allowed Quinnipiac to more than double St. Lawrence's shots on goal, 35-16. But the Bobcats couldn't beat Weninger through the first two periods.
Weninger stopped all 19 shots in the first 40 minutes and helped kill four more penalties in the second period. He finished with 32 saves.
“I thought we did a good job penalty killing,” Weninger said. “Give our team credit for hanging on and playing the way we did tonight.”
St. Lawrence broke its season-long trend by not blowing its third-period lead, although it did surrender three goals in the final 20 minutes on Friday. The Saints have been outscored 44-19 in the third period this season.
Jeremy Langlois, Spencer Heichman and Connor Jones each scored in the third period for Quinnipiac.
“We've blown too many games like that,” Weninger said. “We need to be more efficient and more effective with the lead.”
It was just three games ago that St. Lawrence would have taken a goal almost as much as a win. The Saints were shutout in back-to-back games by Rensselaer and Union during a stretch where SLU went 0-7-1 in conference.
Since, SLU has scored 13 times and moved out of last place in the conference to within range of a first-round bye. The Saints are just five points behind Harvard for fourth place with five games left.
“When you hit rock bottom you realize you can't go anywhere but up,” Carey said. “I think feeling that bad and what happened during that (RPI-Union) weekend, it gives you a little fire.”
n NOTES: St. Lawrence Jordan Dewey suffered a broken forearm against Brown and will miss the remainder of the season. Dewey, a junior defenseman, had four goals and three assists this year.