The Clarkson University Hockey team will look to close out the month of October on a positive note this weekend as it hosts Niagara University in a two-game, non-conference series at Cheel Arena. Guided by second-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy ‘00 and Andy Jones, the Golden Knights face off against the Purple Eagles at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and then battle Niagara again on Saturday in a 7:30 p.m. contest, which is part of the “Parent's Weekend” festivities on the Potsdam, NY campus.
Led by junior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) and senior assistant captain Andrew Himelson (Monroe, NY), the Green and Gold have played well in spurts through the early going of the 2012-13 campaign, but are still looking to put together a full, solid 60 minutes. Clarkson is 0-3 on the year after dropping its home-opener, 3-1, to Holy Cross last Saturday. The Knights began the season with a two-game series at perennial WCHA powerhouse Colorado College on October 12-13. Clarkson, of ECAC Hockey, battled the Tigers, ranked 17th/19th in the current national polls, tough in the weekend out west, but came up just short, losing both games, 5-4, on the big ice sheet (100’x200’) at the World Arena in Colorado Springs.
Last Saturday at Cheel, Clarkson honored former Golden Knight standout Craig Conroy ’94 by retiring his number (#7) prior to the game against Holy Cross, but unfortunately the Green and Gold could not carry over the celebration into the evening as the Crusaders were able to skate to the victory. Clarkson held a 37-26 advantage in shots, but sophomore Joe Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) was the only Knight able to find the back of the Holy Cross net with a power-play tally late in the first period. Making his second collegiate start, freshman Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) made 23 saves in the Clarkson goal, including 13 first-period stops. The Crusaders sealed their win midway through the third period with a penalty-shot goal.
Niagara comes into the North Country with a 1-2-2 record, but 12th-year head coach Dave Burkholder’s squad is coming off a very strong weekend effort against perennial CCHA powerhouse Michigan State. On Friday in East Lansing, MI, the Purple Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Michigan State, but the home team rallied in the third to pull out a 3-2 victory. On Saturday, Niagara once again held an early 2-0 lead over the Spartans at Munn Arena, but had to settle for a 3-3 draw after Michigan State scored with 49 seconds remaining in regulation to tie.
With the exception of a 10-2 loss at ECAC Hockey foe Colgate on October 9, the Purple Eagles have played every game close so far in the early going of their 2012-13 campaign. Niagara opened the year with a 2-2 tie against Bowling Green at Dwyer Arena on October 6. After the loss at Colgate, the Purple Eagles skated to a 2-1 victory at home over Mercyhurst, followed by the series at Michigan State. Niagara skated to a 17-11-6 overall record and a second-place 14-6-7 Atlantic Hockey mark last season.
Clarkson and Niagara have played nine times with Clarkson holding a slim 5-3-1 lead in the series, which started with a 5-1 win for the Green and Gold on December 28, 1997 in the consolation of the SIT. In their last meeting on October 16, 2009, Clarkson knocked off the Purple Eagles 4-3 in overtime at Cheel Arena. Adam Pawlick scored his first career goal in that victory. The Knights are 3-1-1 all-time against Niagara in Potsdam. The Purple Eagles’ last win over the Knights was a 4-3 triumph at home on October 18, 2008. The Purple Eagles’ lone victory at Cheel was a 5-3 win on October 29, 2004.
Freshman Greg Lewis has started the last two games in goal for Clarkson and is the first rookie to start in the Golden Knights’ net since Paul Karpowich ’12 and Richie LaVeau ’12 started 24 and 10 games, respectively during the 2008-09 campaign … Lewis owns a 3.74 goals against average and a .887 save percentage … Junior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) leads the Green and Gold in scoring through the first three games with four points on one goal and three assists … Freshman Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT) is right behind with two goals and one assist, and ranks among the top five rookie scorers in the country in points per game (1.00) … Junior Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT) also has two goals on the season … Seven different Knights have accounted for Clarkson’s nine goals … McPherson and sophomore defenseman James Howden (Edgeley, SASK) share the team’s plus/minus lead at +3 each. Howden led the Knights last year with a +7 rating … Adam Pawlick (Utica, NY), just one of four seniors on the Clarkson roster, has yet to play an NCAA game this season because of an injury suffered in the exhibition contest against Carleton (10/7) … Sophomore defenseman Sam Labrecque (Granby, QUE), the Knights’ leading scorer from the blueline last year, has missed the past two games with an injury … Sophomore defenseman Kevin Tansey (Hammond, ONT) will sit out at least the first half of the season as he recovers from injuries suffered in an assault this past August … Sophomore Mitch Zion (Manotick, ONT) has left the University and plans to transfer to other school. Zion played in one game this season and just 14 career games for the Knights, recording one assist … Although the NHL is currently in a shutdown mode due to a players lockout, numerous Golden Knights are currently playing in professional leagues. AHL - Mark Borowiecki -Binghamton, Brandon DeFazio –Bridgeport, David Leggio -Rochester, Steve Zalewski –Albany; ECHL - Matt Beca -Florida, Julien Cayer –Reading, Paul Karpowich -Evansville, , Jake Morley -Idaho, Corey Tamblyn –Idaho, Nick Tremblay -Greenville, Shawn Weller -South Carolina; Europe, Asia – Chris Blight -Cardiff Devils, Wales, David Cayer -Strasbourg, Chris D’Alvise -Ljlbljana Olimpija HK, Austria, France, Scott Freeman -Ljlbljana Olimpija HK, Austria, Shea Guthrie -Coventry Blaze, England, Mac Faulkner -Cardiff Devils, Wales, Jay Latulippe, -Chamonix, France, Rob McFeeters -China Dragon, Louke Oakley -Kaufbeuren, Germany, Phil Paquet -Frederikshaun, Denmark, Dave Reid -Hannover Indians, Germany.