St. Lawrence moves forward with minds on Marsh

There will be different voices calling the shots on the bench for St. Lawrence, though Joe Marsh’s influence will be felt on each line change, goal and win for the Saints.

Due to a medical leave, this is the first time since 1985 that the Saints will start a regular season without Marsh on the bench. Associate head coach Mike Hurlbut is ready to take on the challenge.

After a couple strong years from 2008 to 2010, the Saints dropped back in the standings last year to 11th place with a 6-15-1 record (13-22-5 overall).

“We’re obviously looking to improve upon last year’s record. It was a little bit deceiving,” said Hurlbut. “We played a little bit better down the stretch.”

The Saints upset Princeton in the first round of the 2011 playoffs and defeated Yale in the first game of a three-game series they eventually lost.

Greg Carey, he of 40 points in 40 games as a freshman last year, found his way onto the ECAC preseason media all-conference team, though was missing from the coaches’ team. All eyes will be on him to potentially improve on those numbers, especially paired up with junior Kyle Flanagan.

“With 23 goals, he got a lot of attention, league-wise and nation-wise, as he should,” said Hurlbut. “He’s a good all-around player. Putting Carey with Kyle was a combination in our minds before the season even began. When Greg got open, he scored, and he does a great job of getting open.”

The Saints have plenty of other top talent coming back, such as forwards Jeremy Wick and Jacob Drewiske and defensemen George Hughes and Pat Raley.

“George had a great learning season, and once he regained his footing, he had a really solid second half,” said Hurlbut. “We’re getting good leadership from Drewiske and both Raley and Wick both had good freshman years down the stretch.”

The Saints are also excited about welcoming in Nelson Armstrong, the Ontario junior league’s runner-up for rookie of the year.

“He’s a very mature 17-year-old. He looks like he’s 21 or 22,” said Hurlbut. “He’s the type of player who likes to be involved in the rush and he’ll complement our returning defensemen well.”

About the Saints

2010-11 overall record: 13-22-5

2010-11 ECAC record: 6-15-1 (11th)

2011-12 predicted finish (coaches poll): Ninth

Key losses: F Aaron Bogosian, F Sean Flanagan

Players to watch: Sophomore F Greg Carey, junior F Kyle Flanagan, sophomore D George Hughes, sophomore G Matt Weninger

Impact rookie: D Nelson Armstrong

Why the Saints will finish higher than the coaches poll: Didn’t lose too many impact players, and they are bringing in a sweet recruiting class.

Why the Saints will finish lower than the coaches poll: A 5-2 loss to Canada’s Carleton in exhibition doesn’t bode well for how the team will work without Marsh’s guiding voice.