Looking to bounce back from a pair of one-goal losses on the road, the Clarkson University Hockey team returns to Cheel Arena this weekend to host Capital District foes in ECAC Hockey action. Guided by third-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy '00 and Andy Jones, the Golden Knights face off against Rensselaer on Friday and then battle Union on Saturday. Puck drop is 7:00 p.m. both nights.
Clarkson will be participating in a Teddy Bear Toss between intermissions of the Union Game. Sponsored by Clarkson University Physician Assistant Program, the Teddy Bear Toss will benefit children at local hospitals in the North Country.
Led by senior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT), Clarkson owns a 15-9-2 overall record and is tied for fourth place in the ECAC Hockey standings with an 8-4 league mark. The Golden Knights are ranked 15th in the latest national polls.
The trip to Central NY to play Colgate and Cornell has been the Knights' toughest series over the years and this season proved to be no different for the Green and Gold, who dropped a pair of 3-2 games over the weekend.
Clarkson saw its four-game league winning streak come to an end in Friday's loss in Hamilton, NY. The Knights rallied from a two-goal, first-period deficit with scores by sophomore defenseman Paul Geiger (Stouffville, NY) and senior Will Frederick (Allison Park, PA) in the middle frame to make it 2-2 against Colgate. The Raiders, however, would skate away with the victory at Starr Rink, netting the game-winning goal early in the third.
The Knights jumped out to quick lead at Lynah Rink in Ithaca on Saturday and made it 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes. Cornell, however, would gain the momentum in the second period to earn the one-goal win. Sophomore Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT) and Sexton would both record a goal and one assist.
Freshman Steve Perry (Ligonier, PA) and sophomore Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) split the Clarkson goaltending duties over the weekend. Perry made 25 saves at Colgate, while Lewis posted 20 stops against Cornell.
Rensselaer, guided by eighth-year head coach Seth Appert, comes into the weekend riding high after snapping a six-game winless skid (0-5-1) this past weekend. The Engineers knocked off Dartmouth, 4-2, at Houston Field House on Friday for its first ECAC Hockey victory since early December. On Saturday in non-league action at the Mayor's Cup against Union at the Times Union Center in Albany, RPI won its first game against the Dutchmen in 10 tries, earning a 2-1 victory. A brawl between the two rivals as the game ended, marred the victory and led to several game disqualification penalties that will force both teams to sit out players in the games at Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend. RPI owns a 10-10-4 overall record and is tied for seventh in the conference standings at 4-5-3. The Engineers are 4-7 in road games.
One of the top teams in the country, ranked 4th in the national polls, Union had gone 13-1-1 prior to Saturday's Mayor's Cup contest. The Dutchmen, who defeated Harvard 4-3 last Friday, enter Friday's game at St. Lawrence with a 16-5-3 overall record and sit atop the ECAC Hockey standings at 10-2. Third-year Union head coach Rick Bennett will miss the action in the North Country after being suspended by the University for two games. The Dutchmen are 9-1-2 on opponents' home ice.
League issues suspensions for Rensselaer and Union
In a heated rivalry which dates back to the 1924-25 campaign, Clarkson leads the overall series against Rensselaer 84-48-8. The Engineers, however, have won six of the last 10 meetings, four of the last five and are on a three-game winning streak in the series. Last season, RPI won their second consecutive game at Cheel Arena with a 6-2 victory over the Knights on February 9. The Engineers also shut out the Green and Gold 5-0 in Troy on March 1 in the teams' last meeting.
Clarkson is 13-9-3 all-time against RPI at Cheel. The Knights' last win in the series was a 4-3 triple overtime thriller on March 3, 2012 in the second game of the ECAC Hockey first-round series. Ben Sexton ended the sixth longest game in NCAA history with his game-winner at 13:48 of the third overtime.
Sam Labrecque has scored a team-high five points (2-3) through seven games in the series. Alex Boak has also scored two goals against the Engineers. Sexton, James Howden and Allan McPherson are the only other current Knights to have scored a goal against RPI.
Greg Lewis has played 44 minutes in two games against the Engineers.
The Knights hold a significant advantage in their all-time series against Union, leading 28-20-5 in the rivalry, and celebrated one of their biggest win over the Dutchmen in their last meeting at Cheel. Last season Clarkson snapped a nine-game losing skid in the series with a 2-1 victory at Cheel Arena on February 8.
Union, however, is 17-14-3 against the Knights in games played during the 2000s, including a 9-1 mark in the last 10 meetings. In their last game, the Dutchmen blanked the Knights 4-0 in Schenectady on March 2.
Clarkson is 15-6-1 against Union at Cheel. Sam Labrecque and Allan McPherson scored the Clarkson goals in the win at home last year, and Greg Lewis was solid in the crease with a 27-save effort.
McPherson has a team-high three points against the Dutchmen with one goal and two assists. Labrecque has a team-high two goals in the series. Ben Sexton is the only other current Clarkson player to have scored a goal against the Dutchmen. Lewis posts a .932 save percentage and a 2.50 GAA against Union.
Clarkson has played in 19 one-goal games this season, recording a 12-5-2 mark in those games. The Knights went 7-0-1 in their first eight one-goal games, but 3-4-1 in their last eight close games … The last four games for Clarkson have all been 3-2 decisions. The Knights defeated Yale and Brown at Cheel Arena on January 17-18 and lost by the same score at Colgate and Cornell this past weekend … With 10 games remaining in the regular season, Clarkson plays six games at Cheel Arena and four on the road. The Knights are 8-2-1 at home and 6-5-1 in road games … Captain Ben Sexton paces a balanced scoring effort for the Knights with 21 points, including a team-high 15 assists. Playing for the first time in his career at Lynah Rink (having missed the experience in his first three seasons because of injuries), Sexton scored a goal and an assist against Cornell on Saturday. He has a team-high +7 plus/minus rating and his one of the top centers in the country at the faceoff circle, winning (60.3%) of his draws (322-212) … Senior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) follows right behind with 18 points, including a team-high eight goals. McPherson is bidding to join Clarkson's Century Club. He leads all current Knights in career scoring with 89 points (36-53) in 134 games ... Sophomore Jeff DiNallo (Aurora, ONT) is the Knights' third-leading scorer with 15 points (7-8), more than tripling his rookie point total 4 (2-2) … Greg Lewis and Steve Perry have seen the bulk of the playing time in the Clarkson crease. In 14 starts, Lewis holds a .893 save percentage and a 2.63 GAA en route to an 8-5 mark in 14 starts. Perry posts a .916 save percentage, a 2.11 goals against average and a 6-4-2 record, including two shutouts … Will Frederick is picking up his offensive contribution with two goals and two assists over the past four games. He tallied two points (1-1) at Colgate on Friday. Frederick has 13 points (5-8) overall in 24 games … Paul Geiger leads the Knights in scoring from the blueline with 12 points (4-8) … Pat Megannety recorded his first points since mid-November and first goal since late October with a goal and an assist at Cornell on Saturday.