ECAC Hockey points have been hard to come by for the Clarkson University Hockey team in its annual trip to Central NY, and this season was no different as the Golden Knights lost 3-2 to Cornell in Ithaca on Saturday night after suffering the same fate at Colgate on Friday.
Clarkson, which entered the weekend ranked 13th in the national polls, falls to 15-9-2 overall and 8-4 in ECAC Hockey. The Knights will look to bounce back from their first league weekend sweep of the season when they return to Cheel Arena next weekend hosting Rensselaer and Union. Clarkson and Cornell (10-4-5, 6-3-4) are tied for fourth place in the ECAC Hockey standings, but the Green and Gold have a game in hand on the Big Red.
Clarkson battled hard on the road, outshooting the 12th-ranked Big Red 25-23, but Cornell rode the momentum of strong second period, scoring three goals on eight shots, to snap a two-game losing skid to the Knights.
The Knights jumped out to a quick lead on sophomore Pat Megannety's (Oakville, ONT) second goal of the season and first since late October. Megannety took a pass from senior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) at the right circle and fired in wrist shot for the opening goal just 2:10 into the game.
Clarkson, which controlled play throughout the opening stanza with a 13-6 shot advantage, took a 2-0 lead when the Sexton-Megannety combo hook up again late in the period. Megannety won a faceoff at the right circle in the Cornell zone back to Sexton, where the senior center wristed in his sixth goal of the season at 16:42. Sexton was playing in his first game at Lynah Rink after missing the previous three seasons with injuries.
The second period belong to the Big Red who brought the sold out Lynah Rink crowd to life by outscoring Clarkson 3-0 in the stanza to take a 3-2 lead through 40 minutes. Matt Buckles put Cornell on the scoreboard at 7:54 and just under three minutes later Jacob MacDonald tied the game at 9:15. Moments after Cornell had killed off a Golden Knight power play, the Big Red forced a Clarkson turnover and Christian Hilbrich capitalized at 15:30 to give the home team its first lead of the contest at 15:30.
Cornell held on to the narrow victory, outshooting Clarkson 9-6 in the final period. The Knights' bid to tie the game late was hampered when they were called for back-to-back penalties in the final three minutes of regulation.
Making his first appearance since January 11, sophomore Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) posted 20 saves, including nine in the third period to keep Clarkson within reach.
The Knights were 0-of-2 on the power play and killed off all four Cornell man-advantage opportunities.