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Saints to tangle with Black Bears

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The Saints have embarked on their second road journey in as many weeks and will play at the University of Maine on Friday and Saturday.

Last week, St. Lawrence traveled approximately 1,240 miles to the Upper Midwest and split a season-opening two-game set at nationally-ranked Western Michigan.

This week’s trip is comparatively shorter at 420 miles, as the Saints will tangle with the Black Bears at Maine’s Alfond Arena.

“They look like a team that skates well and is pretty physical,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “We’re going to face tough competition in a tough environment. Obviously it’s not as far a trip to Orono, Maine than it is to Kalamazoo, Mich., but we’ll see what we’re made of.”

“This is a perfect team to play early in the year,” center and senior captain Kyle Flanagan said of Maine,” “because we want to find out what kind of team we are. They’re got a tradition there with a strong program and they lost some players from last year, so they won’t be as strong this year. But they’re well coached and it will be another test for us.”

Last weekend, the Saints provided Carvel with his first victory as head coach with a 4-3 victory over Western Michigan as junior winger Jeremy Wick scored the game winner in overtime.

“The first game was exciting for me, getting a goal like that so early in the year,” Wick said. “It was kind of a broken play, the puck bounced off the boards funny and came to me right in the slot. ... It wasn’t a highlight reel goal, but it still counted.”

St. Lawrence went on to squander a 2-1 lead in the third period, including yielding a power-play goal with 5:27 remaining, as Western Michigan rallied for a 3-2 win last Saturday.

“We came away from the weekend with a split against a quality opponent,” Carvel said. “But we didn’t play with the same intensity that we did Friday. We had a chance to win the second game, but hopefully we’ll learn from this.”

While the Saints allowed two power-play goals over the weekend, their power-play got off to a strong start with four goals from 11 man-advantage opportunities.

Offensively, the Saints’ primary line of Flanagan, Greg Carey and Chris Martin combined for 10 (5-5) points last weekend.

Maine is coming off a split in the Ice Breaker Tournament in Kansas City, Mo., last weekend.

After losing to Notre Dame, 1-0, the Black Bears rallied to defeat Army, 4-3 on Saturday in the consolation game.

Maine, which reached the NCAA Tournament last season, was picked to finish fifth in Hockey East.

The Black Bears lead the all-time series with St. Lawrence, 11-4-0, and won the last meeting, 10-1 in 2009.

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