Clarkson and Alaska-Anchorage tie in season opener
Saturday, October 8, 2011 - 7:37 am

If the late “night” game is any indication, the Clarkson University Men’s Hockey team will certainly be playing an exciting brand of the game all season long under first-year head coach Casey Jones, as the Golden Knights scored a pair of power-play goals and senior goaltender Paul Karpowich (Thunder Bay, ONT) made 37 saves in a 4-4 tie with Alaska-Anchorage in the Kendall Classic in front of 3,307 fans Friday night/Saturday morning at Sullivan Arena.

The late start time kept many diehards from being able to enjoy the regular-season opener against the host Seawolves, but Saturday’s contest should be more time appropriate as Clarkson will face Alaska-Fairbanks starting at 8:07 pm EST.

The home team found itself down a player almost immediately as Alaska-Anchorage was whistled for a penalty just 12 seconds into the contest. Though the Knights were unable to convert on their first power play chance of the season, senior Julian Cayer (Longueuil, QUE) poked one past Seawolves goaltender Rob Gunderson at the 2:37 mark with the assist going to freshman defenseman Kevin Tansey (Hammond, ONT).

The Seawolves had a decent lead in shots in the first period (13-4), but Clarkson took advantage of its chances and gained a 2-0 edge at the start of the second frame. After a hooking call, Cayer once again converted for the Knights on the power play, just 23 seconds after it began. Sophomore Alex Boak (Norwood, NY) and freshman Joe Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) each earned assists on the second score for Clarkson.

The momentum would quickly shift to the side of Alaska-Anchorage, however, as the Seawolves pushed three across the goal line in the second period, including two power-play opportunities. Mark Pustin responded to Clarkson’s two-goal lead, breaking away from the Clarkson defense and wristing a shot past Paul Karpowich. Just two and a half minutes later, Clarkson was attempting to fight off a penalty, but a give-and-go by the Seawolves, finished off by Mickey Spencer, tied the score 2-2 at the 7:59 mark. Unfortunately, the Knights couldn’t stay out of the penalty box and found themselves down a player once again after a whistle for interference. Just 48 seconds into the power play, Alaska-Anchorage netted another to take its first lead of the game. Daniel Naslund picked up his second point of the game with the power-play marker at 12:33, scoring the Seawolves third goal in just over seven minutes.

While the Knights were struggling to stay out of the penalty box, the Seawolves were not doing much better. Alaska-Anchorage was whistled for an infraction late in the period, but Clarkson wouldn’t need the full two minutes to knot the score up at 3-3. Freshman Joe Zarbo picked up his first collegiate goal only 19 seconds into the power play with junior Andrew Himelson (Monroe, NY) earning the assist.

The scoring kept coming for the Knights only a minute later, this time at even-strength as Louke Oakley (Whitby, ONT) scored with less than two minutes to go in the raucous frame. Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) and David Pratt (Napanee, ONT) were awarded the assists.

After an equal second period, the Seawolves once again took advantage of their shooting edge and were able to tie up the score 4-4 midway through the third frame. Matt Bailey was able to beat Karpowich on the doorstep after Sam Mellor was able to dig the puck out of the corner and send it back in front of the net to Bailey at 12:42 in the third.

In the overtime period, Clarkson was unable to get a shot on goal, but Karpowich denied four Seawolves shots to hold on for the tie. Karpowich finished with 37 saves, while Gunderson stopped 19 shots for Alaska-Anchorage. Both teams scored a pair of power play goals in seven attempts.

Although the game will go in the records books as a 4-4 tie, Alaska-Anchorage won the ensuing shootout 1-0.