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College hockey: St. Lawrence’s Smolcynski shines in debut

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BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Drew Smolcynski made quite a debut for the St. Lawrence University men’s hockey team on Friday night.

Playing in his first collegiate game, Smolcynski scored a pair of goals, including the game winner in the third period to send the Saints to a 3-2 nonconference men’s hockey victory over Ferris State at Ewigleben Ice Arena.

Smolcynski tallied the deciding goal for the Saints (3-0), with Gunnar Hughes assisting, with 6 minutes, 24 seconds remaining in regulation.

“I’m excited for Drew,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “We’re really getting some good contributions from our younger players, like Brian Ward as well and that’s nice to see.”

St. Lawrence, playing in its first road game of the season, yielded the first two goals as Justin Buzzeo scored in the final minute of the first period at 19:19 and Justin DeMartino followed with a shorthanded tally just 1:07 into the second.

“We didn’t display the energy that we needed early on,” Carvel said. “Ferris State was really buzzing and kind of took it to us early. But we got it going in the second period and I think we got stronger as the game went on.”

The Saints answered 2:24 later as Smolcynski scored his first goal, with Alex Hagen assisting.

Ward evened the score with three minutes left in the second period for the Saints (3-0). He has scored at least one goal in all three games.

Smolcynski’s game-winner came off a rebound from a deflected shot by Hughes.

“This was a good road win for us,” Carvel said. “It wasn’t pretty, but I think we showed some grit and a lot of character to get it done.”

Matt Weninger, making his 52nd career start and 101st career appearance, made 24 saves to record the win for St. Lawrence.

“Matt was steady for us once again,” Carvel said. “He played really well last weekend and tonight he was really strong for us again.”

Hughes finished with two assists — on the game-winning and game-tying goals — and Matt Carey picked up his first collegiate point with an assist.

Charles Williams made 26 saves for the Bulldogs (2-2).

The win was the first for St. Lawrence in Big Rapids since 2008. They had trailed 6-1 in the all-time series before Friday’s victory.

The two teams will square off again at 7:07 tonight to complete the two-game set.

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