Clarkson drops series opener, 5-1 to RPI
Friday, March 2, 2012 - 10:30 pm

With three power-play goals in the first period, Rensselaer built a commanding lead and gained the advantage in the ECAC Hockey First-Round Series at Cheel Arena by defeating the Clarkson University Hockey team 5-1 in Game 1 of the best-of-three series on Friday night in Potsdam.

Rensselaer (11-21-3) and Clarkson (15-16-6) will face off again on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in Game 2 of the series. If the Golden Knights win, the teams will play a series-deciding third game on Sunday. If the Engineers win they will advance to the quarterfinal round next weekend.

Postseason play started off in Clarkson’s favor on Friday as the Knights connected for a power-play goal at 3:35. Senior Nick Tremblay (Candiac, QUE) scored his 16th of the season, finishing off assists from sophomore Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) and freshman defenseman Sam Labrecque (Granby, QUE) to provide the Green and Gold with the early momentum.

The Knights then got in penalty trouble and RPI took full advantage, tallying three straight power-play goals in a span of 3:55 to take control. Matt Tinordi started the Engineers on their way with his fifth goal of the season at 5:44. Less than a minute later RPI took the lead with Nick Bailen’s first goal at 6:33. Bailen scored again from the point with another man-advantage tally at 9:39. The Engineers added one more goal in the period when Joel Malchuk tipped in a shot at 12:17 for the lone even-strength goal in the stanza.

RPI added another goal late in the second period as Jacob Laliberte finished off an assist from Ryan Haggerty at 17:32 to put the visitors on top 5-1 through 40 minutes.

The Engineers shutdown any attempt by Clarkson for a comeback in the final frame, allowing the Knights only two shots on goal in the period.

RPI, which is undefeated in its last seven road games, outshot Clarkson 32-17. Bryce Merriam made 16 saves for the Engineers, while senior Paul Karpowich (Thunder Bay, ONT) posted 27 stops for the Knights, who lost their third straight.

Clarkson was 1-of-7 on the power play, while RPI went 3-of-10 with the man-advantage.