Clarkson hosts Dartmouth and Harvard in regular season finale
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 7:43 am

With four games remaining in the ECAC Hockey schedule, including the final home dates of the regular season at Cheel Arena this weekend, the Clarkson University Hockey team is still in the mix to place among the top four teams in the league standings and earn a first-round bye in the upcoming conference playoffs. Guided by second-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy ’00 and Andy Jones, the Golden Knights own an 8-15-7 overall record and are tied for seventh place in ECAC Hockey with an 7-8-3 conference mark.

Led by junior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) and assistant captain, senior Andrew Himelson (Monroe, NY), Clarkson faces a pair of Ivy League foes this weekend to close out the home games for the regular-season. On Friday, the Knights battle nationally-ranked Dartmouth, followed by Saturday’s matchup against Harvard. Both games are 7:00 p.m. faceoffs.

This Saturday, in the regular-season home finale, Clarkson will honor the four-year veterans during Senior Night. Clarkson’s Class of 2013 – Andrew Himelson, Adam Pawlick (Utica, NY), Nick Pokulok (Vaudreuil-Dorion, QUE) and Cody Rosen (Kingston, ONT), will make their final regular-season appearance before the home crowd this weekend. Over their four-year careers, the Knights’ seniors have compiled 48 victories and are on the verge of leading the Green and Gold to a first-round bye in the upcoming ECAC Hockey playoffs.

With eight points still remaining to be earned in the regular season, Clarkson can finish anywhere from second to 12th in the standings. The Knights are four points shy of second place and seven points from falling to 12th. Clarkson closes out the regular season at Rensselaer and Union on March 1-2.

Clarkson kept pace for a possible first-round postseason bye by splitting on the road over the weekend. The Knights came back for the first time this season when trailing after forty minutes when they upended Princeton 3-2 at Hobey Baker Rink in New Jersey on Friday. Down 2-1 entering the third, Clarkson rallied back with a pair of freshmen providing the scoring late in regulation. Simon Bessette (St. Jean, QUE) evened the game at 14:30, followed by the game-winner from classmate T.J. Moor (Lake St. Louis, MO) while on the power play with 3:07 remaining. Rookie Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) was solid again in the Clarkson crease with a 25-save effort. Junior Matt Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) also scored as the Green and Gold swept the season-series from the Tigers.

Facing the number-one ranked team in the country on its home ice, Clarkson put in a very solid effort against Quinnipiac in Hamden, CT on Saturday, but the highly-rated Bobcats were able to hold off the Knights for a 2-1 win. Clarkson allowed two goals in the opening 10 minutes, but then shut down Quinnipiac for the remainder of the game. Junior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) scored with 13.7 seconds remaining, but the Knights ran out of time in their comeback bid. Lewis gave the Green and Gold a chance with a 32-save effort.

Dartmouth, guided by 16th-year head coach Bob Gaudet, is looking to string together some victories after snapping a four-game winless stretch on Saturday. Ranked 19th in the country with a 12-9-4 overall record, the Big Green are tied for fifth in the ECAC standings, two points ahead of Clarkson, with an 8-7-3 league mark. Dartmouth split at home this past weekend, falling to Cornell 4-2 before defeating Colgate 5-4.

Guided by ninth-year head coach Ted Donato, Harvard enters the North Country playing its best hockey of the season. The Crimson are on a four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2) after defeating Colgate, 4-1, and tying Cornell, 2-2, over the weekend in Cambridge. Harvard, which plays at St. Lawrence on Friday, owns a 7-15-3 overall record and a 12th-place 4-12-2 ECAC mark, just three points out of 10th.

The Series:

The Golden Knights hold an overwhelming 66-25-7 advantage all-time in the rivalry against Dartmouth, which began with a 4-1 Clarkson win on February 4, 1929. The Big Green, however, have won two straight against the Knights and are 5-4-1 over the last 10 games in the series. Dartmouth won the first meeting this season, 5-1 at Thompson Arena on January 26.

The teams split last season with each winning on its home ice. The Big Green snapped a two-game losing skid to the Knights with a 6-4 win in Hanover on February 24 last season. Clarkson claimed the first meeting of the 2011-12 campaign with a shutout over Dartmouth in Potsdam on November 19, 2011. The teams also split in 2010-11 with Dartmouth winning 7-1 at Cheel on November 12, 2010 and the Knights posting a 4-1 victory in Thompson Arena on February 26, 2011.

Clarkson has a 15-3-3 record against the Big Green at Cheel Arena.

Adam Pawlick has a team-high four goals in five games against Dartmouth. Allan McPherson has recorded two goals and two assists, while Nik Pokulok has tallied a team-high three assists. Joe Zarbo tallied the Knights’ lone goal in the first meeting this season. Greg Lewis posts a .916 save percentage and a 4.13 GAA through 58 minutes in the series.

Clarkson and Harvard have battled to a 51-50-11 record in their series, which began with a 2-1 Clarkson win in Lake Placid on December 28, 1935. The Knights snapped a five-game losing skid in the series with a convincing 5-1 victory at Bright Hockey Center on January 25 in the first meeting this season.

Last year, the Crimson edged the Green and Gold with a pair of 3-2 victories – in Potsdam on November 18, 2011 and in Cambridge on February 25, 2012. The Crimson began the five-game winning streak over the Knights with a 3-1 triumph at Bright Hockey Center on February 25, 2011. Harvard then won for the first time in Potsdam since the start of the 2004 campaign, snapping an eight-game winless stretch (0-7-1) at Cheel, by sweeping the Green and Gold in a 2011 ECAC First-Round playoffs series (2-1, 6-4).

Clarkson’s last win in Potsdam against the Crimson was a 3-1 victory at Cheel on November 13, 2010. The Knights are 14-9-2 against Harvard all-time at 22-year-old Cheel Arena.

Matt Zarbo, who tallied three assists in the first meeting this season, leads Clarkson in scoring against Harvard with six points (1-5) in six games. Allan McPherson has recorded five points (1-4) through seven games of the series. Joe Zarbo enjoyed a four-point effort (3-1) in the 5-1 win in January. Nik Pokulok and Andrew Himelson have both scored twice from the blueline against the Crimson. Greg Lewis holds a .9568 save percentage and a 1.00 GAA in the rivalry.

Knight Notes:

The Knights have outscored their opponents 32-27 in the third period this season, including by a 9-3 margin through the first six games of February … Friday’s 3-2 victory at Princeton, when the Green and Gold were down 2-1 after 40 minutes, was the first time Clarkson has won a game when trailing after two periods. The Knights are 1-12-2 when trailing after the first two periods … Clarkson’s freshman class has made an impact on the stat sheet during the month of February with the Class of 2016 recording five goals and 13 assists over the past six games … Right wing T.J. Moor has made a significant impact up front since joining the Knights at the start of the New year. Moor has tallied four goals and five assists through 13 games, including four goals and two assists in February. He came through with the game-winning goal in Friday’s 3-2 victory at Princeton, connecting for his third power-play goal of the season … Rookie left wing Simon Bessette tied the game 2-2 against the Tigers and then helped to set up Moor’s game-winner. Bessette has posted six points (1-5) in February and five goals, including a shorthanded marker, and seven assists through 28 games … Defenseman Paul Geiger (Stouffville, ONT) also helped to set up the winning score at Princeton, and the Knights’ goal at Quinnipiac. A solid all-around defenseman, Geiger has three assists this month and leads Clarkson in scoring from the blueline with 11 points (2-9) playing in all 30 games … Center Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT) leads the Clarkson rookies in scoring and is tied for second overall on the Knights with 17 points (7-10). He has tallied three assists in the past six games … For the season, Clarkson’s Class of 2016 has accounted for 29% of the Knights’ offense with 21 goals and 40 assists … Clarkson’s leading scorer, Allan McPherson has recorded 23 points, including a team-high 14 assists. McPherson has scored five of his nine goals over the past six games. He owns a team-best +10 plus/minus rating … Matt Zarbo scored a goal and an assist in the win at Princeton. He has eight points (3-5) on the season … Greg Lewis has started the last 13 games in the Clarkson goal and has played in 28 games overall. He posts a .903 save percentage and a 2.85 goals against average. Lewis combined for 57 saves in this past weekend’s split on the road, including 25 saves in the one-goal win at Princeton ... Former Clarkson all-star forward, Jarmo Kekalainen '89 was named General Manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 13, 2013.