Clarkson mastered the role of spoiler over the last two days.
Devin Brosseau and Sheldon Rempal scored goals while goalie Jake Kielly made 35 for the Golden Knights on Saturday in a 2-0 win over No. 12 Notre Dame, clinching a Shillelagh Tournament championship after advancing Friday by beating Yale in a shootout.
Notre Dame hasn’t hoisted the trophy in its own tournament since 2010, and hasn’t done so at all since shifting it from neutral to home ice in 2013.
“It’s important,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “We were looking at it (Friday), a long trip home, maybe it would’ve been nice if Holy Cross won and we got the early game. But we wanted to be in an environment for us to be challenged and see what it’s like. I thought it was a good experience for us.”
Clarkson (8-5-3) took a lead at 6:29 of the first period with Brosseau’s goal, his fourth of the season. Nico Sturm provided the assist.
Kielly helped that lead stand up. Notre Dame (7-5-2) peppered Kielly with 15 shots in the first period but couldn’t find an equalizer. Clarkson managed only four shots on goal in the first period, yet managed to secure the lead.
Rempal then pushed that lead to 2-0 at 15:22 of the second period as Clarkson reversed that shooting statistic. Irish goalie Cal Petersen faced 14 shots in the second.
Petersen finished with 25 saves.
The Irish had nine more shots of their own in the second and couldn’t beat Kielly, who went on to be named the tournament’s most outstanding player. He made 27 saves in the tournament opener for a two-day total of 62.
“The goalie’s gotta be good at the right times,” Jones said. “In the first period when we were getting our way in and getting our confidence in the game, he made a couple key saves for us. He made them throughout the game. He gave us that confidence and we fed off that.”
Clarkson carried momentum in the second period as Notre Dame adjusted on the fly without one of its top players. Center Jake Evans took a hitting from behind penalty at 7:02, drawing a game misconduct to go along with the five-minute major.
Losing Evans forced Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson to shift around forward lines, special teams units, and cost the Irish one of their best faceoff men. Evans won all five draws he took before leaving the game.
Clarkson held a 28-22 advantage in the faceoff circle overall.
“It did change the game,” Jackson said. “There’s no question. Usually those type of things do. I thought we were playing pretty well even being down. I thought we were controlling the tempo of the game. And their goaltender played well. We still have an issue of creating traffic situations sometimes where the goaltender sees it too much. He made some really good saves too.
“But that did change the complexion of the game. Changes your lines, you lose your best faceoff guy, which is a huge factor after that because you’re chasing all the time. Then it changes the power plays, changes everything.”
Notre Dame wasn’t without chances in the third period, notably a five-on-three power play after Clarkson forwards Perry D’Arrisso (holding) and Troy Josephs (kneeing) went off for minor penalties within 33 seconds of each other with about five minutes remaining.
Kielly proved the difference again, making some timely saves to help the Golden Knights kill off the entire power play. He stopped 11 shots in the third period to seal his second shutout of the season. His first came Oct. 14 in a 23-save performance against Merrimack.
The Irish finished 0-for-7 with the man advantage. Kielly made six saves on those power plays.
“I think in penalty killing when you get in a five-on-three, two things are key: your goaltender has to make a couple saves and your kids are gonna bite pucks,” Jones said. “They’re gonna block shots. We did both of those.”
Yale prevails on consolation game
Joe Snively scored two goals to lead Yale (3-4-2) to a 3-1 win over Holy Cross in the consolation game. Snively gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead not even two minutes into the game, only to see Holy Cross (5-5-2) tie it up less than two minutes later with a Danny Lopez power-play goal. Frankie DiChiara gave Yale the lead back with a goal at 1:20 of the second and Snively sealed the win with his second goal late in the third period.