With its season on the line, the Clarkson University Hockey team responded with one of its most complete efforts of the season in defeating Princeton 4-0 in Game 2 of the ECAC Hockey first-round playoff series at Cheel Arena on Saturday night.
The Golden Knights, who improved their record to 19-15-4, will face off against the Tigers (6-24) in the deciding Game 3 of the first round series Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. The winner will advance to the quarterfinal round in the conference playoffs next weekend.
Clarkson excelled in all aspects of the game on Saturday after falling 3-2 in overtime the night before. The Knights outshot the Tigers in every period, holding a 37-24 advantage when the game was over. The Knights went 1-of-4 on the power play and were perfect in two penalty kills.
A pair of freshmen highlighted the Green and Gold's efforts. Rookie defenseman James de Haas (Mississauga, ONT) tallied a career-high two goals and classmate Steve Perry (Ligonier, PA) posted 24 saves in picking up his fourth shutout of the season.
Clarkson was strong from the start in the series' second game, outshooting the Tigers 16-9 en route to a 2-0 lead through the opening 20 minutes.
The Knights wasted little time in taking control, scoring just 54 seconds after the opening faceoff when sophomore Jeff DiNallo (Aurora, ONT) swept in a loose puck while falling down at the bottom of the right circle for his 10th goal of the season. Senior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) and sophomore Christian Powers (Carlisle, ONT) picked up the assists.
Midway through the period, Clarkson made it 2-0 on a power-play tally from senior Will Frederick (Allison Park, PA), who redirected a shot from classmate Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) into the Princeton goal while stationed at the top of the crease. McPherson started the play with a pass from behind the net to Sexton for his 100th career point.
de Hass scored twice in the second period to build Clarkson's lead to 4-0. At 4:22, de Haas converted from the top of the right circle off a pass from senior Matt Zarbo (Grand Island, NY). Freshman defenseman Bryan Sinz (Anchorage, AK) also assisted.
Sexton set up de Haas's second goal, winning a faceoff back to the point where the rookie rearguard fired in his fourth goal of the year at 10:31.
Sean Bonar made 33 stops in the Princeton goal.