Playing in its 25th one-goal game of the season, the Clarkson University Hockey team let a one-goal, second-period lead slip away as Princeton University surprised the Golden Knights in the opening game of the ECAC Hockey first-round series at Cheel Arena, winning 3-2 in overtime on Friday night.
The fifth seed in the league playoffs, Clarkson, which stands at 18-15-4, faces off against the 12th-seeded Tigers (6-24) in Game 2 of their series at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. If the Knights win there will be a series-deciding Game 3 on Sunday. If Princeton wins on Saturday, they will move on to the quarterfinal round.
Princeton, which lost its last five games of the regular season, including a 3-1 defeat to the Golden Knights last Friday, pulled out the win when its leading scorer, Andrew Ammon fired in a rising shot from the right circle at 10:38 of overtime.
Showing new life in the postseason, Princeton came out strong to start the first period against the Knights. The Tigers put three shots on net in the opening 30 seconds and drew the first penalty of the game just 40 seconds in. Although the Tigers did not capitalize on the power play they did generate more momentum and scored the opening goal early in the period. Kyle Rankin tapped in a soft pass from Jonathan Liau to finish off a 2-on-1 break at 4:19. Ben Foster also assisted. Princeton was outshot 11-9 in the opening 20 minutes, but held the lead after the first for only the second time this season.
Clarkson began to take control in the middle frame and grabbed a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. The Knights got on the scoreboard early in the period with a power-play goal by senior Will Frederick (Allison Park, PA). Frederick took a pass at the top of the crease from senior Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT), who set him up from behind the goal at 3:08. Senior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) also assisted for his 98th career point.
The Knights, who held an 11-4 shot advantage in the period, took the lead late in the stanza when sophomore Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT) tipped in a shot from the point by senior defenseman Alex Boak (Norwood, NY) with nine seconds left in the second. Senior Matt Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) started the scoring play with his pass back to Boak at the blueline.
Princeton battled back in the third and with three man-advantage opportunities held an 11-9 advantage in shots. The Tigers tied the score 2-2 at 6:15 when Andrew Calof connected on the power play at 6:15.
Clarkson outshot Princeton 41-29, including 10-5 in overtime. Both teams were 1-of-5 on the power play. Sophomore Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) made 26 saves for the Knights, while Colton Phinney posted 39 stops for the visitors.