Kevin Ackley made 28 saves including 13 in the third period to give St Lawrence a 3-2 victory over Clarkson in front of a record crowd of 4,125 at Clarkson’s Cheel Arena. The win marks the first time the Saints have swept their chief rival since 1991-92 season.
Ackley shook off a shaky initial five minutes, in which Clarkson bombarded the sophomore netminder with seven shots, one of which found the back of the net.
After Ken Scuderi made an acrobatic play to keep the puck in the Saints end, Mac Faulkner fed a pass to Dave Reid on the point. Reid’s shot was redirected by Joe Carosa around the unsuspecting Ackley to give Clarkson the 1-0 lead at 2:34.
“Ackley’s a gamer. He is always very focused and always all about getting the ‘W’,” said St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh. “Anything can happen in this rivalry, and usually anything does. After those first five minutes I thought ‘Here we go again.’ But it’s a game of emotion and you just have to ride things out. Tonight we rode those early emotions out and came out of here with two points.”
St Lawrence worked out the butterflies in the last 10 minutes of the first period. St Lawrence prevented Clarkson from taking a shot in that span, turning around a 7-1 shot disadvantage in the first four minutes of play.
“It seemed like we scored the first goal and then shut it down. We just stopped skating and didn’t start again until the end of the third period,” said Clarkson head coach Fred Parker. “We took some inopportune penalties and they took advantage.”
The Saint took advantage on the first power play of the evening when Ryan Glenn scored his fourth goal of the season. Glenn, at the point, waited for his screen to develop and snapped a hard shot past the glove of Clarkson goaltender Dustin Traylen to tie the game, 1-1.
“We used the first TV timeout to kind of go back to corner and refocus, bring out the smelling salts,” said Marsh. “Emotion can play into our favor and we needed to realize that.”
St Lawrence capitalized on its emotions in the second period outshooting the Knights, 10-8, and generating more quality scoring chances. After killing off a Clarkson power play, highlighted by Ackely’s nifty glovework on a quick shot by Adam Campana, St. Lawrence controlled play and caught Clarkson in a line change, which led to a 3-on-1 opportunity.
Dan Dupuis knocked an attempted clearing pass to line mate John Zeiler, who skated in on lone defender Scuderi. With Scuderi committed to Zeiler, Rich Peverley was left tapping his stick on the ice for the pass. Zeiler completed the pass, Peverley faked on Traylen and skated around the sprawled out goaltender, depositing the puck into the open net two give the Saints the 2-1 lead.
The Saints took this lead into the intermission and capitalized on undisciplined Clarkson play in the third to seal the victory.
At 3:33 of the third period, Clarkson captain Kevin O’Flaherty was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind. Clarkson’s penalty killing unit, ranked No. 4 nationally, seemed to turn the tide after killing off the major and an additional two-minute minor taken by Randy Jones at the 8:06 mark of the third.
With St. Lawrence’s then shorthanded, Clarkson looked for a spark on a power play of its own but this was quickly turned on the home team when Peverley fed a perfect clearing pass to a streaking Jim Lorentz, who skated in alone on Traylen. Lorentz made no mistake and put the puck under Traylen’s glove to give the Saints a two-goal lead with 8:44 to play.
“Things just seem to go wrong in bunches with this team,” said Parker. “People you count on and need take ill-advised penalties. Are passes weren’t clicking, we just were outworked.”
Despite all things going wrong at once, Clarkson was not down for the count.
At 16:02, Clarkson’s Chris Blight feathered a shot in on Ackley. Ackley reacted too slowly to the soft shot and the puck deflected off of the goaltenders arm and found the back of the net cutting the lead to one.
Clarkson found the spark it was looking for but could not solve Ackley, who faced a relentless extra man attack by the Knights in the game’s waning moments.
“When they scored that second goal,” said Marsh, “all I could think was ‘Oh no, not again.’ Ackley is good under pressure and I think he reflects what state our hockey program is at. It’s always tough to get a win in here we played hard and came away with a quality win”
The travel partners head to central New York to take on Colgate and fourth-ranked Cornell next weekend.