Playing at home for the first time since early December the Clarkson University Hockey team received a solid effort in goal from freshman Ville Runola (Raisio, Finland) and got another balanced scoring effort to snap a four-game winless skid with a 3-2 victory over Merrimack College before 2,362 fans in non-league action at Cheel Arena on Friday night.
The Knights, who won their 10th one-goal game of the season, improve their record to 13-6-2. Ranked 11th in the national polls, Clarkson will close out a six-game stretch against Hockey East foes when it completes its weekend series against Merrimack (4-10-3) on Saturday night, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Making his first NCAA appearance, Runola was strong for the Knights with 20 saves, and gave the Green and Gold the opportunity to earn the win with 17 saves in the first two periods as the Warriors outshot Clarkson 19-9 through 40 minutes.
Sophomore Jeff DiNallo (Aurora, ONT) scored a goal and an assist to lead the offense effort, which saw three different goal scorers and seven players post at least one point.
DiNallo broke a 2-2 tie midway through the third period when he picked up a big rebound at the left circle off a shot by senior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) and put his seventh goal of the season into a wide open net at 7:42 for the game-winner. Sophomore defenseman Kevin Tansey (Hammond, ONT) recorded his second assist of the game to start the scoring play.
Despite their sluggish play to start the game, the Knights held the early lead with a pair of goals in a 24-second span. After
Merrimack had the better of the play in the opening 10 minutes, the Knights found their stride and gained the advantage.
Senior Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT) opened the scoring at 15:14 with his sixth goal of the year, flipping in a backhand in front off a pass from captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) while the Knights were skating on a delayed penalty. Freshman defenseman Bryan Sinz (Anchorage, AK) started the play with a pass to Sexton at the Merrimack blueline.
Moments later the Knights converted on the power play when sophomore defenseman Paul Geiger (Stouffville, ONT) wristed in a rising shot from the right point that beat the Warriors' goaltender high on the glove side at 15:38 for his third goal of the season. DiNallo and Kevin Tansey picked up the assists.
Merrimack got on the scoreboard late in the first with its own power-play maker. With just 10.2 seconds remaining in the period, Brian Christie fired in a shot from the right boards along the goal line that found its way past Runola.
The Warriors evened the score early in the middle frame shortly after their second power play of the night had ended. At 4:14, Josh Myers picked up a pass along the right boards, skated in front and stuffed in a shot to make it 2-2.
Clarkson came out strong to start the third and outshot the Warriors 10-3 in the period.
Both teams went 1-of-2 on the power play.