CANTON Having earned the nickname The Sheriff by his teammates, Jeremy Wick has emerged as a leader on the St. Lawrence University hockey team.
The junior winger, known for his physical play but has also shown an offensive spark, has stepped up his presence both on and off the ice for the Saints.
My role has been to separate guys from the puck and play physical, Wick said. I feel that in doing that, I create space for the other guys on the ice.
Wick, named as an assistant captain for St. Lawrences game against Vermont on Dec. 15, has worn the A on his sweater ever since.
He does things hard and he does it right, Saints coach Greg Carvel said of Wick. Thats why we put an A on him just before Christmas, because he plays the way we want our whole team to play. He does the right things, plays hard and pays a price to help the team win.
St. Lawrence (9-10-3 overall, 2-5-3 league), which has 12 conference games remaining, plays at Dartmouth and Harvard tonight and Saturday, both 7 p.m. starts.
Part of this year has been about changing the culture here, St. Lawrence senior captain Kyle Flanagan said. We want to be more accountable, and we call him (Wick) the sheriff because hes kind a stickler an over-stickler at times. But its all in good fun.
We call him the sheriff because he looks after the team and makes sure everyone is doing everything the right way, Carvel said.
Despite his hard hits, Wick has also been sharpening his offensive skills for the Saints and has been rewarded with increased playing time on the power play.
I enjoy it, I wish I could get many more chances to contribute that way, said Wick, who is listed at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds. So Ive just got to capitalize on the chances I do get.
He plays hard, Carvel said of Wick. Hes a power forward type of player his style is not pretty, but hes effective. He skates pretty well and hes very physical. Hes the kind of guy that when he hits, he goes through people and when he does that he hurts you.
Hes not a dirty player by any stretch of the imagination but he hits like a linebacker and he brings a lot of energy to our team.
Wick, a native of Grand Valley, Ontario, has scored a career season-high five goals, including his first career power-play goal, and has totaled 10 points.
Personally, Im kind of disappointed, Wick said. Ive had a lot more chances than those Ive been able to put up on the scoresheet. I just have to keep working away at it.
Wick broke through with his first man-advantage tally in a 3-3 tie at rival Clarkson last Saturday by taking a sharp cross-ice pass from Chris Martin and snapping the puck just under the crossbar to provide the Saints with a 2-0 advantage.
It was good to get on the power play, especially at that point of the game, Wick said.
Wick, who has appeared in all 22 games this season, started the campaign auspiciously by scoring the game-winning goal in a 4-3 overtime victory at Western Michigan on Oct. 6.
Like many of his teammates, last weekends outcome against Clarkson didnt sit well with Wick, as the Saints blew a 3-0 advantage in the third period and had to settle for the tie and a single standings point.
As a team we feel where we stand now is not indicative of how weve been playing, Wick said. Weve just got to buckle down we know we can win the games, so weve just got to do that now.
TIME FOR ECAC PUSH?
St. Lawrence enters tonight with seven points and in a tie for 10th place with Colgate, with both only one point ahead of last-place Harvard.
Yet the Saints are only a point out of eighth place (occupied by Clarkson and Brown), just two points out of seventh (held by Rensselaer) and trail sixth-place Cornell by only three points.
Every team in the ECAC makes the playoffs, with the top four finishers receiving a first-round bye and the fifth-through-eighth-place teams will host a first-round playoff series, as St. Lawrence did last year against Dartmouth, with the Big Green sweeping the series.
This is the only time to make a push our chance is right now, Flanagan said. ... Obviously you want home ice and you want to get that first-round bye with a top four finish. But at the same time, three years ago Brown was a (next to) last-place team and they made it to the league semifinals, and Colgate did it two years ago after they finished last.
We need to get hot as a team and keep progressing toward what our potential can be.
After this weekend, six of St. Lawrences final 10 regular season games are at home, as it will host Cornell and Colgate next Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Sportswriter Chris Fitz Gerald covers St. Lawrence hockey for the Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org