Clarkson was short Friday night in Boston.
Short on players, short on chemistry, short on luck â€¦ and short on goals.
The injury-riddled Golden Knights couldn’t convert on their few precious chances, falling to Harvard 5-1 in front of 2,087 at the Bright Hockey Center. Harvard (3-2-0, 3-2-0 ECAC Hockey) senior Nick Coskren lit the lamp twice, Joe Smith added a goal and an assist, Michael Del Mauro scored his first collegiate goal and Matt Hoyle made 23 saves in the win. Playing without major contributors Chris D’Alvise, Julien Cayer, Phil Paquet and Mike Willemsen, Clarkson (2-3-2, 1-2-0) struggled to produce in any way at all. Lauri Tuohimaa scored the Knights’ only goal, while Paul Karpowich finished with 18 stops.
â€œI’m very pleased with the effort,â€ said Harvard coach Ted Donato. â€œOur guys established a tempo â€¦ we were very strong on the forecheck, we were more disciplined. We stayed out of the box,â€ he said of his team, which had been penalized often so far this season.
â€œWe had contributions up and down the lineup,â€ he said.
Del Mauro got things started with a gift goal ten minutes in, courtesy of hard-working teammate Joe Smith. Knight defenseman Dan Reed picked an errant puck off his own end-boards and spun it up ice, but Smith tipped it right onto the blade of Del Mauro at the left-wing dot. The sophomore winger promptly whipped the puck through a stunned Karpowich for the 1-0 lead.
The home side didn’t take long in extending its lead, quickly capitalizing on a Mark Borowiecki interference minor. First-line center Doug Rogers won the ensuing draw to Karpowich’s right, pulling it straight back to Alex Biega. The junior blueliner walked the puck to the high slot before ripping it on net; senior winger Nick Coskren made a gorgeous tip to baffle Clarkson’s keeper.
â€œWe had talked about how â€¦ their guys were leaving me alone in front of the net,â€ Coskren said afterward. â€œI told Alex, just wrist one into me, it doesn’t even have to be hard â€¦ and he put it right on my stick.â€
The Crimson struck again less than two minutes later, as fourth-line soph Joe Smith smacked a perfect cross-ice feed by the beleaguered Karpowich. Freshman Colin Moore made the pass, playing the penultimate role in a brilliant passing attack.
The Golden Knights put a silver lining on the otherwise disastrous period when Lauri Tuohimaa beat Hoyle down low to break the early shutout with 35 seconds left. The North Country club led 8-6 in shots after one, with only three penalties called: two to Clarkson, one on Harvard.
Clarkson carried play through the first half of the middle frame, putting six of the period’s first seven shots Hoyle’s way. But the Green and Gold simply couldn’t finish on multiple high-leverage opportunities, and Harvard eventually made them pay with 38 minutes in the books.
Matt McCollem added insult to injury behind the visiting net, first rocking Clarkson captain Tyrell Mason off the puck, then feeding it straight to Coskren who popped it home. It was the tenth goal of the Walpole, Mass. native’s career and his fourth of the season.
â€œIt was a great night,â€ smiled Coskren, who has already equaled his career-high for goals in a season, which he set his freshman year. The younger brother of prolific Holy Cross strikers Tim and Tony Coskren, Nick joked, â€œhopefully this will rise [me] up a littleâ€ toward their totals.
â€œI can’t change that in one game,â€ he laughed.
The Potsdam icers outshot the hosts once more — 9-6 in the second for a 17-12 lead — and the penalties balanced from the first period, as Harvard sat for four minutes to Clarkson’s deuce.
â€œI thought we played very well in the first two periods,â€ said Clarkson head coach George Roll, â€œbut every shot they took ended up in the back of the net. We just didn’t finish.â€
Harvard buried its second power-play goal of the game seven and a half minutes into the third, as McCollem added a goal to his assist with a screened tip of Jimmy Rogers’ blue-line blast. The 5-1 lead was Harvard’s largest since its 11-0 pasting of Quinnipiac in last season’s quarterfinals.
â€œWe did a good job keeping the play in their zone,â€ assessed Donato. â€œI really felt that staying out of the box allowed us to establish a good solid team game.â€
â€œNone of itâ€ is on Karpowich, said Roll. â€œHe’s been sharper than he was tonight â€¦ but if you don’t score more than one goal, you’re not going to win many.â€
Harvard finished the game two of five on the man-advantage, while shutting out the Knights on six tries. Clarkson trudges northward to take on Dartmouth Saturday night, now sans Matt Beca as well: the dependable third-year sniper left the game in the third period after a hard hit in the defensive zone. Harvard sleeps at home tonight, welcoming the surprising St. Lawrence Saints on Saturday.