With three power-play goals in the opening 10 minutes of the first period, the Clarkson University Hockey team built itself a commanding lead early in Saturday’s game against Niagara, but the Golden Knights had to battle back to gain a 4-4 tie against the Purple Eagles before a sold out crowd of 3,119 fans at Cheel Arena.
Goals were limited in Niagara’ 2-0 victory over Clarkson on Friday night, but the Knights and Purple Eagles found their scoring touch on Saturday, combining for eight goals with six coming on the power play. A total of 67 combined minutes in penalties were called, including three five-minute majors, two game misconducts and one 10-minute misconduct. Niagara was whistled for 50 minutes on 10 penalties. Clarkson finished 3-of-9 on the power play, while the Purple Eagles were 3-of-5 with the man-advantage.
In a penalty-filled first period, both teams capitalized on their chances with Clarkson scoring three power-play goals and Niagara (2-2-3) connecting twice with the man-advantage for a 3-2 score after the opening 20 minutes.
Skating on a five-minute major power play, the Knights scored three times in a span of 1:19 to gain the early momentum. Sophomore Joe Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) opened the scoring at 6:17 with his second goal of the year. Sophomore defenseman Sam Labrecque (Granby, QUE) and junior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) assisted.
Just under a minute later at 7:16, freshman Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT) netted his third collegiate goal with a quick shot in front off a pass by sophomore Patrick Marsh (Oakville, ONT). Freshman defenseman Paul Geiger (Stouffville, ONT) also assisted. Twenty seconds later Labrecque one-timed a pass from junior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) in the slot and buried his first goal of the season for the Knights’ third goal on the five-minute power play.
Clarkson found itself in penalty trouble later in the period, and Niagara made the Knights pay with a pair of power-play tallies. Ryan Murphy picked up a rebound in front at 13:04 for the Purple Eagles’ first goal, and then followed with his second of the game at 16:35 to cut the Clarkson lead to one as the opening period ended.
Although it was not a power-play goal it was close as the Purple Eagles tied the game early in the middle frame just five seconds after a Clarkson five-minute major penalty ended. Michael Benedict tied the game at 4:27 during a scramble in front for his third goal of the season.
Niagara took its first lead of the game at 2:33 of the third when Chris Lochner popped in a rebound while on the man-advantage for the visitors’ fourth straight goal.
Four minutes later, the Knights tied the game on sophomore James Howden’s (Edgeley, SASK) shot from the top of the left circle at 6:31. Sexton picked up his third assist of the night.
Clarkson outshot Niagara 33-31. Freshman Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) posted 27 saves, including four in overtime. Cody Campbell started for Niagara and made six stops, but was pulled after the Knights’ third goal. Carsen Chubak played the final 57 minutes in the Niagara net and turned aside 23 of the 24 shots he faced.
At 0-4-1 overall, Clarkson will close out the season-opening non-league portion of its schedule when it plays a two-game series at Canisius College next Saturday and Sunday.