Knights even playoff series with 4-3 triple overtime win against Rensselaer
Sunday, March 4, 2012 - 7:47 am

Sophomore Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) scored at the side of the net at 13:48 of the third overtime to lift the Clarkson University Hockey team to a 4-3 victory over Rensselaer in Game 2 of the ECAC Hockey First Round series at Cheel Arena on Saturday night. Sexton’s goal ended the sixth longest game in NCAA history at 113:48 and forced a deciding third game in the first round series to be played on Sunday at 7:00 p.m.

Sexton took a pass from classmate Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) at the bottom of the left circle and fired in a bouncing puck that got past RPI goaltender Bryce Merriam with 6:12 remaining in the third 20-minute sudden-death period for his eighth goal of the season. Junior defenseman Nik Pokulok (Vaudreuil-Dorion, QUE) also assisted on the game-winner, which ended the longest game in the Golden Knights history.

Clarkson, which snapped a three-game losing streak, improved its record to 16-16-6. RPI, which won the series’ first game 5-1 on Friday, saw its seven-game road unbeaten streak (6-0-1) come to an end and falls to 11-22-3.

The Engineers outshot Clarkson 53-44 in the game which lasted four hours and 30 minutes. Senior Paul Karpowich (Thunder Bay, ONT) made a season-high 50 saves (one shy of his career record), including 25 in overtime play. Bryce Merriam finished with 40 stops, including 18 in overtime, for RPI.

Clarkson was 2-of-7 on the power play, while the Engineers went 1-of-6 with the man-advantage.

Clarkson rallied three times from one-goal deficits to gain its first win in postseason play since March, 2010.

RPI, which struck for three consecutive power-play goals early in the first period in Game 1 on Friday, started out Saturday’s game with three straight man-advantage opportunities. The Knights killed off the Engineers’ first two power plays, but RPI was able to capitalize on its third at 8:43 of the opening frame when C.J. Lee tipped in a shot by Patrick Cullen.

Clarkson responded late in the period with its own power-play tally.

With six seconds remaining in a two-man advantage senior Nick Tremblay (Candiac, QUE) tied it up when he jammed in a shot at the side of the net for his team-high 17th goal of the season. Freshman defenseman Sam Labrecque (Granby, QUE) and Sexton assisted.

At 6:47 of the middle frame, RPI took a 2-1 lead when a shot from the corner by Patrick Cullen deflected in off the skate of a Clarkson defenseman in front of the Knights’ net.

Clarkson came back in the third period with a pair of defensemen connecting on shots from the point to outscore the Engineers 2-1 in the stanza to force overtime.

Sophomore Alex Boak (Norwood, NY) tallied his third goal of the season off an assist from freshman Joe Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) during a five-minute RPI major for a power-play marker at 6:25 to make it a 2-2 game.

The Engineers regained the lead at 11:00 with Cullen’s second goal of the game, converting on a long rebound off the backboards with a shot from the left circle.

Once again, however, the Knights battled back to tie on Labrecque’s blast from the blueline, an unassisted goal at 15:01.

RPI had the best opportunity to win the game in the first overtime when they opened the first sudden-death session with a 4:37 of man-advantage time as Clarkson was whistled for a five-minute major with 24 seconds remaining in regulation.