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Nico Sturm scored a pair of third-period goals to help Clarkson down rival St. Lawrence, the top team in the ECAC, a game in which Clarkson coach Casey Jones was pleased to see his team play for the full 60 minutes.
“We haven’t played well the last few weeks,” said Jones. “In recent weeks, we’ve let some games slip away, and it’s because we haven’t put 60 minutes of hockey together.”
Clarkson had the edge at the end of the game, but through 20 minutes, the Saints were leading thanks to Joe Sullivan’s ninth of the season. Sullivan took a cross-ice feed from Jacob Pritchard and slid the puck past an outstretched Jake Kielly with 52 seconds left in the period. That would be the only shot the Saints could get past the rookie netminder, who finished with 21 saves.
When the puck dropped on the second period, Clarkson came out with good pace, which they maintained through the rest of the contest. The pace paid off for the Golden Knights, as A.J. Fossen knotted the game at one goal apiece 5:10 into the middle period, jamming home a feed through the crease from Jordan Boucher. Kyle Hayton kept the Saints even, despite St. Lawrence being outshot 21-11 over the final two periods.
It took until midway through the third period for Sturm to net his first of the game, taking a breakout pass from Sheldon Rempal and streaking in on Hayton, beating the junior through the five-hole to put Clarkson up 2-1.
“Great eyes by (Rempal),” said Sturm. “I saw him get the puck in our zone, and right away I took ice, and I already knew what I was going to do before I got the puck.”
Sturm found the empty net with five seconds left in the game to ice the win for Clarkson for his second of the game and eighth of the season, and for the rookie, knowing Clarkson had defended home ice was the best feeling of the night.
“Relief,” said Sturm when asked of his emotions after scoring the empty-net goal. “Right away I looked around, looked at our bench, and could see the big huddle. You can see what this one means to our team.”
“I thought we had better energy tonight,” said Jones about the win as compared to a 3-1 loss at St. Lawrence in December. “I was most happy tonight about how smart we played with the lead. We took risk out of our game.”
After the contest, Saints coach Mark Morris was mostly disappointed in the way his team lost, not in the 3-1 scoreline.
“I was not pleased, not just because we didn’t win, but more how we lost,” said Morris. “I guess the thing that is glaring to me is our lack of discipline. You look at the type of penalties we took, and most of them were sticking penalties, or non-skating penalties.”
The Saints took a total of eight penalties in the game, and Clarkson took six, but neither team was able to break through with the man advantage.
St. Lawrence travels to Princeton next weekend for a lone game, while Clarkson takes on the Tigers and Quinnipiac.
Princeton 3, at Brown 3
The Bears scored three goals in the first 10 minutes of the first period to take a commanding lead over Princeton. One goal in the first and two in the second earned the Tigers a comeback tie.
No. 16 Cornell 4, at Rensselaer 3
Yanni Kaldis scored his first career collegiate goal with 23 seconds left in the third period to lift Cornell to a win over RPI. Viktor Liljegren had two goals for the Engineers.
No. 19 Quinnipiac 5, at Yale 2
Two-goal games from Chase Priskie and Nick Jermain helped Quinnipiac beat Yale, 5-2. Jermain’s goals were the first two of his career. Frankie DiChiara had two goals for Yale.
No. 4 Union 3, Colgate 1
Mike Vecchione had the game-winning goal for Union with 7:21 left in the third, and Spencer Foo iced the win for Union. Tyler Penner had the lone goal for Colgate.