Separate But Equal
St. Lawrence Has Split Up Dynamic Duo, But They Continue to Produce
by Joshua Seguin/CHN Writer
The night did not go as planned for St. Lawrence, but in the end, the importance of two players was clearly visible. On a night nothing went right for two of the top scorers in the country, Kyle Flanagan and Greg Carey, the Saints struggled to get anything going.
Coming into the game against Boston University on Saturday night, Flanagan and Carey were tied for the national lead in goals with nine and the former was tied for the top spot in points with 21. Only one team had been able to hold one or both of them off the score sheet before Saturday — Yale on Nov. 10.
"Carey and Flanagan are usually a big part of our offense," said St. Lawrence Coach Greg Carvel. "We usually get a point or two out of them every night. If we don’t get that out of them we struggle. We do have other guys that can score but those guys are really important for us. Kyle usually finds a way to possess and make plays but tonight was a struggle."
There have been many exciting dynamic duos in college hockey history, and Flanagan and Carey have become the next ones. However, most of this season, they have been split it, which changes the narrative. They played much of the last two years together but St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel wanted to spread out the offense.
“We play together on the power play,” said St. Lawrence forward Greg Carey. “We played together a lot the first two years, but they split us up earlier this year. Both of us have been effective in getting pucks to the back of the net and setting up plays, without each other.”
It is clear that the two players rarely play the same game within a game. Flanagan is more of a possession player that can make plays, while Carey is a natural goal scorer.
"He likes to shoot the puck and he knows where to be on the ice to score goals," Carvel said of Carey. "Kyle can also score goals but he is a more of a puck possession, great vision player. He is able to hold onto the puck and let plays develop. He creates a lot of offense just with his great hockey sense."
Despite being shutout by Boston University, St. Lawrence finds the back of the net for over three goals per game. On Friday night against Northeastern, the Saints scored five times. They were of course led by their catalysts Carey and Flanagan, who combined for two goals and three points.
"In the past I have been more of a playmaker but obviously you have to be able to score goals," said Flanagan.
In three games against Hockey East opponents, before Boston University, the Saints were 3-0 and scored 15 goals in the process. It was against Maine the two broke out of the gates. It was also the first weekend that they played on different lines. Against Maine they combined for four goals and 13 total points, not a bad weekend for any pair of players.
The power-play is very strong for the Saints as well, clicking at a rate of 21.3 percent, which puts them in the top 15 nationally. It should be no surprise that Flanagan and Carey play together there. They have combined for eight power-play goals on the season.
"Our power-play in most games gets us a lot of scoring chances," Carvel said.
Having production in the non-conference is great, but putting it together within ECAC play is something that the two will need going forward. St. Lawrence has gone 6-2-0 against teams outside their own conference, but is winless (0-2-2) within the conference. And this weekend will get no easier as they will play at Colgate and at Cornell.
"I think going back into league play we want to definitely take what we do on Friday nights to our Saturday nights," said Carey. "It is very important to play our system because when we struggle we don’t make the plays we are supposed to."
"I think if we have to get into a rut during the season before the Christmas break is when you want it to happen," said Flanagan. "Hopefully we can get back on track after this game."
The conference schedule is still young for St. Lawrence, having only played four games. There is still time to get into the conference race that is wide open in the ECAC. Teams with two great players usually go far in the regular season. Carey and Flanagan are important in terms of offense and St. Lawrence will go as far as these two take them.