POTSDAM, N.Y. — Senior co-captain Don Smith scored the game-winning goal at the 17:11 mark of the third period to give Clarkson a 2-1 victory over Mercyhurst, to the delight of the 2,834 fans and parents in attendance at Cheel Arena on Parent’s Weekend at Clarkson on Saturday.
Smith stuck the puck between the right leg of Mercyhurst goaltender Peter Aubry and the goalpost, reclaiming the lead that Clarkson had for most of the game. Mercyhurst was unable to recover after the goal, taking a penalty with 2:01 remaining in the third, and was forced to play a man down for the rest of the game.
Shawn Grant started in goal for the Golden Knights, making 20 saves in his first appearance and allowing one goal. Peter Aubry turned away 28 shots in a losing effort for Mercyhurst.
“That was a big game for Shawn,” Smith said of Grant’s performance.
Indeed, Grant came up big for Clarkson, especially late in the second period, stopping a breakaway by Eric Ellis of Mercyhurst and then minutes later making a big save between the pipes.
The scoring started late in the first period, as Clarkson took the lead 1-0. Chris Line put the rebound past Mercyhurst’s Aubry at the 15:47 mark of the first period. After a scoreless second period, Mercyhurst got the equalizer on a goal by Mike Carter. Carter got the rebound in front of the net and put it past Grant, who was down on the ice after making two tough saves.
“This was a huge game for them,” Clarkson’s Chris Line said, “and me, Don [Smith], and Dave [Evans] decided we had to do something.”
With just 2:49 remaining in the game, the Line-Smith-Evans line produced the game-winning goal for the Golden Knights. On the evening, the line produced both goals and two assists.
Both teams played a physical game for the full 60 minutes.
“I thought that we needed to finish our checks if we wanted to be successful, we needed to skate, and I think we did that,” Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin said. “Clarkson gave us everything we could handle. I know our guys respected Clarkson’s players, I was a little concerned we respected them too much.”
Neither team was able to convert on the multitude of scoring chances that were generated.
“The puck didn’t seem to be bouncing in our favor, we had a lot of pucks bouncing around in the crease and we had great opportunities. We had our chances to widen the margin. They had their chances that were pretty scary.” Clarkson coach Mark Morris said.
Both Dave Evans and Chris Bahen for Clarkson were stopped down low with good saves by Aubry. In the third period, senior co-captain Kent Huskins went end-to-end, but was unable to put the puck in the net. Also in the third, R.C. Lyke of Mercyhurst fired a centering past that went just out of reach of his teammate on a 2-on-1 opportunity. Neither team was able to convert on the power play, Mercyhurst going 0-for-5, while Clarkson went 0-for-6.