The third largest crowd ever at Cheel Arena witnessed a classic battle between two archrivals on Friday night as Clarkson University defeated St. Lawrence 5-4 in ECAC Hockey action before 3,965 North Country fans in Potsdam.
The Golden Knights and Saints will close out their home-and-home series on Saturday night at Appleton Arena in Canton. Clarkson, which improved its record to 11-3-1 overall and to 5-2 in ECAC Hockey, extended its league unbeaten streak over St. Lawrence to seven games (6-0-1). St. Lawrence dropped its second straight game to fall to 8-7-2 overall and to 2-3-2 in the conference.
The Knights got goals from five different players, including the game-winner from freshman Troy Josephs (Whitby, ONT), and a 17-save outing from sophomore goaltender Greg Lewis (Mars, PA).
Trailing 3-2 after two periods, Clarkson struck for three unanswered goals in under a six-minute span to take control in the third. The Knights then held off a late charge by the visitors to keep the momentum entering tomorrow's game in Canton. Friday's game ended with a flurry of penalties, which will add to the intensity of Saturday's encounter.
Senior Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT) started the Clarkson rally in the third period with his fourth goal of the season. At 6:09, Burton took a back-hand pass from junior Joe Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) and fired in a quick wrist shot from the left circle to tie the contest 3-3. Senior defenseman Alex Boak (Norwood, NY) started the play with a pass to Joe Zarbo at the blueline.
Clarkson went on top 5-3 with a pair of goals 31 seconds apart. Sophomore Jeff DiNallo (Aurora, ONT) put in a big rebound off a shot from rookie defenseman James de Haas (Mississauga, ONT) from the left circle for a power-play marker at 10:57. Junior defenseman Sam Labrecque (Granby, QUE) also assisted. At 11:22, Josephs connected for his second career goal, scoring into a wide open net after a pass from junior defenseman James Howden (Edgeley, SASK). Senior Will Frederick (Allison Park, PA) also assisted on the eventual game-winner.
Boasting the nation's top power play, St. Lawrence made it a one-goal game on freshman Matt Carey's second goal of the game, a man-advantage tally at 17:59.
The Saints' pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker with over a minute to play, but Clarkson, behind a couple key stops from Lewis, held off St. Lawrence's bid to force overtime.
Clarkson and St. Lawrence traded two goals apiece in the first period for a 2-2 score after the opening 20 minutes. The Saints connected for both their goals on the man-advantage. Jeremy Wick started the scoring with a power-play marker at 6:30, knocking in a rebound in front.
The Knights came back with two scores off hard work down low and around the net to grab the lead. Sophomore T.J. Moor (Lake St. Louis, MO) got a stick on a bouncing puck at the side of the net and knocked in his first goal of the season, a power-play tally at 9:28. Joe Zarbo and senior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) assisted.
Sophomore Simon Bessette (St. Jean, QUE) fought through a scrum in front at 14:25 and pushed in his second goal of the year with senior line mates Will Frederick (Allison Park, PA) and Matt Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) assisting.
With just 24 seconds remaining in the stanza, St. Lawrence connected for its second power-play goal to knot the score. Wick tallied on a shot from the top of the left circle that found its way through traffic.
With an evenly played second period winding down, St. Lawrence scored again late in the period to take a 3-2 lead. With just 38.6 seconds remaining in the middle frame, Matt Carey tipped in a crossing pass from Ross McMullan.
Clarkson held a slim 23-21 edge in shots. Clarkson was 2-of-6 on the power play, while St. Lawrence went 3-of-5 with the man-advantage.