Knights open new season with playoff games at Brown
A new season begins for the Clarkson University Hockey team this weekend when the Golden Knights open the ECAC Hockey playoffs with a first-round series at Brown University. Guided by second-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy ’00 and Andy Jones, the Knights will battle the Bears in a best-of-three game series on March 8-10. Game times are 7:00 p.m. at Meehan Auditorium in Providence, RI.
Led by junior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) and senior assistant captain Andrew Himelson (Monroe, NY), Clarkson will look to pick up its play in the postseason after ending the regular campaign with three consecutive losses. Clarkson, the 10th seed in the conference tournament, finished in a tie for ninth place in the ECAC Hockey standings with an 8-11-3 league mark. The Green and Gold own a 9-18-7 overall record.In the other first-round series, No. 9 seed Cornell is at No. 8 Princeton, No. 11 Colgate is at No. 6 St. Lawrence, and No. 12 Harvard is at No. 5 Dartmouth. The winners of the first-round series advance to the quarterfinal round in another best-of-three game series. The top four seeds, No. 1 Quinnipiac, No. 2 Rensselaer, No. 3 Yale and No. 4 Union, who all received a bye this coming weekend, will host a quarterfinal series beginning on March 15. The ECAC Hockey Tournament semifinals, third-place and championship games will take place on March 22-23 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ.
Clarkson has been a force in the ECAC since the league was formed at the start of the 1961-62 season. The Knights have participated in 51 of the conference’s 52 postseason tournaments, winning five league championships (1966, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2007). Clarkson owns an 82-67-5 record in the conference playoffs, and is 3-5 in first-round series (8-11). The Knights are 11-1 against Brown in conference postseason action.
After winning the 2007 ECAC Tournament title, Clarkson has been knocked out of the playoffs in its first postseason action in each of the following five years. Last season, Clarkson lost its first-round series to Rensselaer 2-1 in Potsdam (5-1, 3-4 3ot, 4-1). The Knights also lost first-round series at Cheel to Harvard in 2012 (2-1, 6-4). Clarkson lost at St. Lawrence in 2010 (3-2ot, 3-4ot, 3-2) and fell in Schenectady to Union (5-3, 7-2) in 2009. Colgate edged the Green and Gold in the 2008 quarterfinals at Cheel (0-1, 4-3, 3-2 2ot).
The Knights have advanced to 31 league championship tournaments and have skated in 13 title games, winning its fifth in 2007 with a 4-2 victory over Quinnipiac in the title game at the Times Union Center in Albany. This is the first time Clarkson has ever played as the 10th seed.
The Knights will look to shake out of their regular-season ending slump when they take on Brown. After a 4-0 win at Cheel Arena over nationally-ranked Dartmouth on February 22, the Green and Gold lost at home to Harvard (6-2) the following night and were shut out on the road in NY’s Capital District region this past weekend, falling to Rensselaer (5-0) and Union (4-0).
Clarkson took one of a possible four league points against Brown this season. The Knights tied the Bears 3-3 in Providence on November 10, and lost in Potsdam 3-2 on January 11.
The No. 7 seed, Brown finished with a 7-9-6 ECAC Hockey mark. The Bears, guided by fourth-year head coach Brendan Whittet, own an 11-12-6 overall record. Brown, split at home in the final regular-season weekend, losing to Cornell 4-1 before coming back with a convincing 5-1 victory over Colgate. The Bears are 2-1-1 over their last four games. Brown is 7-4-5 at Meehan Auditorium this year.
Clarkson leads Brown in their all-time series, which began in 1953, by a commanding 58-16-8 margin. The Knights have gone 5-3-2 against the Bears over the last 10 meetings, but are winless this year in the series with a tie and a loss.
The teams have met 12 times in the ECAC playoffs with Clarkson winning 11 times. This is the first, postseason first-round series between Clarkson and Brown. In their last playoff meeting, the Green and Gold won a quarterfinal series at Cheel, 2-0 (3-2ot, 3-1) on March 12-13, 1999. Brown’s only win in the league playoffs against Clarkson was a 6-2 victory on March 7, 1978 at Walker Arena in a quarterfinal game. The teams have never faced off against each other in a playoff game at Meehan Auditorium.
In their first game this season, Clarkson battled back for a 3-3 tie in Providence on November 10 as Adam Pawlick scored his first goal of the season to knot the game for the final time midway through the third period. Brown snapped a five-game series winless skid (0-3-2) in the next game by skating to a 3-2 victory at Cheel Arena on January 11.
Clarkson took three of four league points from the Bears in 2011-12 with a 2-2 tie in Potsdam (1/14) and a 3-1 win in Providence (2/3). Clarkson won both games in 2010-11 (3-1, 4-1), while the Bears swept two games from the Green and Gold in 2009-10 by 3-2 scores.
Allan McPherson has scored two goals and three assists in six games against Brown, while Ben Sexton also has five points against the Bears, including four assists, in three games. Will Frederick also has tallied two goals through six games of the series. Greg Lew posts a .905 save percentage and a 2.90 GAA against the Bears.
Freshman Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) posted his second game this season with over 40 saves when he made 42 at Union on Saturday, including a career-best 20 stops in the second period against the Dutchmen. Lewis stopped a Union penalty-shot late in the game becoming first Clarkson goaltender to record that stat since Paul Karpowich’12 posted a save on a penalty shot against Brown last February at Brown. Lewis also turned aside 44 shots at Dartmouth (1/26). Lewis has started 31games this season, including all 17 games in 2013. He posts a .900 save percentage and a 2.98 goals against average en route to a 9-16-6 overall record. Lewis became the first Clarkson freshman to post two shutouts in a season since Karl Mattson achieved the feat in 1999-2000. Lewis blanked Yale 1-0 in New Haven (11/9) with 22 stops for his first career victory. He also shut out Dartmouth in Potsdam (2/22) with 28 saves in a 4-0 win … Since defeating the nationally-ranked Big Green, the Knights have struggled losing three straight by a combined score of 15-2. Clarkson has been held scoreless through the last seven periods (141:29) … The losses this past weekend at Rensselaer and Union were the first back-to-back shutouts suffered by the Green and Gold in 11 years … Junior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) paces the Clarkson offense with 25 points, including a team-high 16 assists. He shares the team-lead in power-play goals with four and holds a team-high +9 plus/minus rating … Juniors Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT) (10-8) and Sexton (5-13) are tied for second on the Knights’ scoring charts with 18 points apiece … Sophomore Joe Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) has scored a team-high 12 goals, including four on the power play. He has 16 points overall … Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT) leads the Clarkson rookies in scoring with seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points … Rookie Paul Geiger (Stouffville, ONT) leads the Knights’ defensemen in scoring with 12 points (2-10) … Junior Will Frederick (Allison Park, PA) has a team-high two game-winning goals … Clarkson is 7-2 when leading through two periods, but just 1-15-2 when trailing entering the third stanza. The Knights are 1-1-5 when tied through 40 minutes.