March 1, 2013

ECAC Journal: Saints march on sans captain Flanagan

By Jesse Connolly

St. Lawrence University hits the road in the final weekend of the regular season with the goal of securing a first-round bye for the upcoming ECAC playoffs. They’re going to have to do so without their captain.

Kyle Flanagan (Canton, N.Y.) will miss at least the next two games after undergoing a successful appendectomy on Tuesday. The Hobey Baker Award candidate is among the leading scorers within the league and in the nation with 41 points through 31 games.

“This is an unfortunate situation for both Kyle and our team at this point in the season,” Saints coach Greg Carvel said. “We are fighting for a top four finish in the ECAC Hockey and will sorely miss his presence as we battle on the road this weekend.”

Flanagan (pictured right), the two-year captain of the squad, was released from the hospital Wednesday and will recuperate at home. Flanagan hopes to be ready for the first game of the playoffs.

In the meantime, his teammates aim to give him an extra week of recovery time. They’re guaranteed to do so if they can sweep their pair of games this weekend.

St. Lawrence is currently in third place in ECAC Hockey with 22 points. They’re one up on Yale and Dartmouth, while Union sits in sixth with 20 points and Clarkson’s seventh with 19 points.

The Saints can finish no worse than seventh and would host a three-game, quarterfinal series if they fail to finish in the top four and secure the highly-coveted free pass to the semis.

St. Lawrences comes into the weekend having won their last four road games, including a 2-1 victory over Quinnipiac, the top-ranked team in the nation. They’ll square off with Union on Friday, who they defeated by a score of 4-2 back on Feb. 9 in their lone matchup of the season.

On Saturday, they’ll face off with Rensselaer, who handed the Saints a 4-3, overtime setback on Feb. 8. Flanagan scored one of St. Lawrence’s three goals that night and had an assist in the win over Union the next night.

 “Kyle is our captain and leader in so many different ways,” Carvel said. “But we have a team that has a ton of character and I have no doubt that these circumstances will bring the best out of our group.”

Power Rankings

  1. Quinnipiac (23-4-5, 16-1-3) – Bobcats will close out the season with games at Harvard and Dartmouth then be off for nearly three weeks, as the tournament semifinals begin March 22.

  2. RPI (15-12-5, 10-7-3) – After a tough loss to swallow against Cornell, the Engineers rebounded to beat Colgate on a Matt Neal overtime goal and remain in second place.

  3. St. Lawrence (16-12-4, 9-7-4) – The Saints erased a pair of Harvard leads to earn a 4-2 win last Friday but fell the following night to visiting Dartmouth. Junior forward Greg Carey established a career-high with his 24th and 25th goals of the season.

  4. Yale (14-10-3, 10-9-1) – Goaltending remains an issue for the Bulldogs, who have allowed 38 goals over their last ten games.

  5. Union (15-12-5, 8-8-4) – The Dutchmen’s hopes of claiming a bye took a big hit with losses to Colgate (4-1) and Cornell (4-2) last weekend.

  6. Dartmouth (13-10-4, 9-8-3) – Tim O’Brien’s two goals against St. Lawrence Saturday helped the Big Green earn just their second win in the last seven games.

  7. Clarkson (9-16-7, 8-9-3) – After a dominant, 4-0 win over Dartmouth, the Golden Knights followed that up with a dejecting, 6-2 loss to last-place Harvard.

  8. Princeton (9-14-4, 7-10-3) – The Tigers’ skid is at four games and counting now. They’ll need to earn points in their final two games (at Dartmouth, at Harvard) and get some help in order to grab home-ice advantage for the quarterfinals.

  9. Brown (10-11-6, 6-8-6) –Anthony Borelli turned in a superb 36-save performance in a 3-3 tie with top-ranked Quinnipiac last weekend. That point gave the Bears the edge over Princeton and Cornell for the No. 8 seed.

  10. Cornell (11-13-3, 7-10-3) – The Big Red not only played spoiler last weekend with wins over RPI and Union, but also gave themselves a shot at home ice in the quarterfinals.

  11. Colgate (14-14-4, 6-11-3) – Eric Mihalik stopped 35-of-36 in a 4-1 win over Union Friday. The victory is the only one the slumping Raiders have in their last eight games.

  12. Harvard (5-13-2, 8-16-3) – After an eight-game losing streak, the Crimson head into the final weekend of the regular season having earned eight out of a possible 12 points in their last six games.

Photo credit: Wally Johnson

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ