POTSDAM, N.Y. — The goals came in pairs Saturday night, as Clarkson was able to defeat a tired Quinnipiac squad, 4-2, in front of 3,215 fans at Cheel Arena.
Clarkson’s offense found the solution to beating Quinnipiac (5-1-2) goaltender Justin Eddy that had eluded St. Lawrence the night before.
“We wanted to drive the net,” said Clarkson forward Trevor Edwards. “Our first goal was pile in front of the net. It’s what we wanted to do and we did it.”
“One thing we knew is that you couldn’t beat [Eddy] on the first shot, you had to beat him on the second shot, and that’s how we did it tonight,” Clarkson co-captain Don Smith said.
Clarkson’s offensive strategy worked, as the Golden Knights (2-1-1) kept the traffic in front of Eddy heavy all night long and took advantage of the rebounds.
The first period belonged to the freshman Edwards, as he scored his first collegiate goal and then proceeded to pick up a second tally moments later.
Joe Carosa took a shot on Eddy, and Edwards recovered the rebound. Edwards attempted a shot that was saved again by Eddy, but Edwards took the rebound and skated around the traffic that was in front of the net to put the puck past the right side of Eddy 4:20 into the period, making the score 1-0.
The second goal of the game came at the 7:59 mark as Clarkson’s Jean Desrochers had the puck down low in front of the net. Eddy was unable to control the rebound, as the puck bounced out to Edwards. With Eddy tied up and out of position, Edwards capitalized and made the score 2-0.
Edwards attempted to complete the hat trick, as he had the puck in front of Eddy near the end of the first period, but Eddy knocked the puck out of the air for the save.
In the second period, Clarkson defenseman Dave Reid stole the show as he picked up two goals, both of which came on the power play.
Quinnipiac’s Anthony DiPalma was called for high sticking at the 2:00 mark of the second period. Thirty-one seconds into the power-play, Reid took a pass from teammate Dave Evans and shot the puck from the blue line. The puck went through Eddy’s legs before he could close the hole, increasing the lead to 3-0.
Near the midway point of the second period, Quinnipiac’s Chris Cerrella was called for boarding. Smith won the faceoff for Clarkson in the Quinnipiac zone, and the puck came out to Reid. Reid took the shot from the blue line, this time bouncing the puck off the top crossbar above Eddy’s left shoulder, and giving the Golden Knights a 4-0 lead.
“I think it’s tremendous for both [Edwards and Reid],” said Clarkson coach Mark Morris. “They played inspirational hockey for us, and provided the spark that we needed.”
Quinnipiac mounted a counter attack in the third period, as Chris Cerrella picked up both goals for the Braves.
With 7:14 remaining in the game, Chad Poliquin fired a centering pass toward the net. Clarkson goaltender Shawn Grant didn’t have a clear view, as Reid for Clarkson and Cerrella for Quinnipiac were in front of him. Cerrella knocked the puck into the net off the right goalpost, cutting the lead to 4-1.
Cerrella’s second goal of the game came late in the third period on a Quinnipiac power play. Cerrella took the puck on a broken play, fired it on net, and it bounced off Grant’s pads and went in.
“Last night we were more focused, we made a lot of mistakes, but we competed hard,” said Cerrella. “Tonight in the first two periods we didn’t compete as well, so [Clarkson] took it to us right away, and once we got down 4-0 against a bigger team, it was hard to come back. We made a great effort in the third period, but if we had done it all three periods, I think it would have been a little different.”
“There just wasn’t enough gas in the tank,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “We were tired from the get-go mentally and physically, and it took us to the third period where we got our legs under us.”
On the evening, Clarkson outshot Quinnipiac 43-22. The Golden Knights finished the game 2-of-7 on the power-play, while the Braves ended up 1-of-5 on the advantage.
Next week, Quinnipiac resumes league play, hosting Sacred Heart on Friday, and then traveling to Fairfield on Saturday. Clarkson opens up ECAC play against Princeton on Friday and Yale on Saturday.