Opportunity knocked for St. Lawrence University's hockey team in its game against rival Clarkson at Lake Placid's Herb Brooks Arena Saturday night, but the Saints couldn't answer.
Haunted by missed open nets in a 4-1 league loss in Canton on Wednesday, the Saints had the same problem on Saturday in the non-league matchup as Clarkson skated to a 3-1 win, its second in four days against the Saints and sixth in the last seven meetings between the two teams. SLU, which will close first semester play with a game against Vermont on Dec. 15, falls to 7-7-2 overall and is now 6-3-0 in non-league action while Clarkson is 4-7-5 after its two wins over the Saints.
Both teams had first period scoring chances, but the goaltenders and a continuation of a Saint streak of missed open nets kept it scoreless. Greg Carey rattled one off the post on a rebound put-back of a Kyle Flanagan shot off the mask of Clarkson goalie Greg Lewis early in the first period and Gunnar Hughes missed an open net on a Saint power play with under 4:30 to go in the period, sending a shot wide of the far post.
The Saints took the early lead in the second period as Chris Martin started the scoring play with a pass from the faceoff circle back to Pat Raley at the center point. Raley took a shot and Gunnar Hughes deflected it past Lewis at 2:01. Clarkson came right back as Simon Bessette scored his fourth of the year and second of the week against the Saints on a shot from right in front past a screened Matt Weninger at 4:54. The Knights then took the lead after a tough defensive sequence for the Saints late in the period. Weninger made a great save on Jeff DiNallo after one Saint giveaway, but DiNallo got even just seconds later as the Saints turned it over for a second time and this time DiNallo walked in and put it upper corner for his second of the year at 14:55 to give Clarkson a 2-1 lead after two.
The Saints had a chance to take the lead early in the third, but Justin Baker's wraparound try bounced off the post and had another two shots at wide open nets sail either high or wide.
Clarkson's Jarrett Burton gave the Knights a 3-1 lead at 8:36 of the third when he picked up a rebound after a good initial save by Weninger and tucked it between the goalie and the post, and while the Saints pulled the goalie for an extra attacker and had some great chances in the final 2:40, including a shot off the bottom of the crossbar which stayed out by Matt Doherty, they could get no closer.
Weninger finished with 23 saves for the Saints while Lewis had 26 for Clarkson.