POTSDAM, N.Y. — The power play worked to the advantage of Clarkson, as the Golden Knights went 3-for-5 with the extra man and skated to a 3-3 deadlock with Brown in front of 3,056 fans at Cheel Arena.
“It’s really exciting, something we’ve been working really hard on,” said Clarkson senior co-captain Kent Huskins. “We’ve been trying a lot of different things, and I think the most promising thing is it’s not just one set of five guys that is doing it, it’s three or four different units, different combinations that seem to be working.”
The power play bailed Clarkson (4-3-3, 1-1-2 ECAC) out of an early deficit, as Brown (1-6-1, 0-5-1 ECAC) surprised Clarkson by scoring two goals early in the first period.
Just 1:23 into the first frame, Owen Walter picked up his first goal of the season with an assist from Keith Kirley. Walter had the puck near the blue line in the Clarkson zone, put a shot that floated towards the net, and beat goaltender Shawn Grant. Grant had a defender in front of him, but it appeared as if he wasn’t expecting the shot.
Already having picked up the game’s first goal, the Bears wasted little time in scoring again. Adam Saunders fed the puck to teammate Matt Kohansky, who was skating in from the right side. Kohansky took the shot on the doorstep of the goal, and beat Grant down low, giving Brown a 2-0 lead at 5:49 in the first.
Clarkson coach Mark Morris, in an attempt to get some momentum back for his team, replaced Grant with Karl Mattson. On the evening, Grant allowed two goals and made no saves.
The Golden Knights made their first power play opportunity count. A Brown penalty put John Petricig in the box for hooking at 9:59, and less than a minute later, Murray Kuntz notched the first goal of the game for Clarkson. Goaltender Yann Danis was not able to control a shot from Kerry Ellis-Toddington, and Kuntz was in perfect position to pick up the rebound. Kuntz made an easy shot, while Danis was on the ice, cutting the lead to 2-1.
In the second period, J.-F. Labarre was called for a five-minute major for hitting from behind. Clarkson used the man-advantage wisely, and at 5:11, the Golden Knights picked up their second goal on the power play. Danis had already made two saves, but the inability to control the rebound cost him as Rob McFeeters took the puck and put it past Danis to knot the game at two.
Clarkson would take the lead in the second period, as the power play produced the third goal of the evening for the Golden Knights. Huskins was down in front of Danis, and Huskins took the puck from in front of the net and shot it past Danis to give Clarkson its first lead of the game at 15:55 into the third, 3-2.
Brown wasn’t discouraged after losing a two-goal advantage. In the third period, Brown tied the game back up at three all. As Doug Janjevich skated into the Clarkson zone on the right side, linemate Petricig passed the puck across the ice. Janjevich skated toward the net and beat Mattson along the ice just 4:34 into the third period.
The best opportunity for either team to break the tie came later in the period, as Tristan Lush for Clarkson had a breakaway, but he was unable to convert as he was hooked to the ice by a Brown defenseman.
“This is the first time that we have played hard and played well,” said Brown coach Roger Grillo. “We got strong goaltending, and I thought our guys played hard, and deserved a tie. Certainly we had a chance to come up with a win.
“We haven’t had traditionally a lot of success in this building, or against this team, so we’re pretty happy with the tie.” Coming into the game, Clarkson held a 13-game winning streak against the Bears, and a 23-game unbeaten streak. Brown is 2-17-3 in Potsdam, with the last victory coming eight years ago. Grillo has never beaten Clarkson.
Clarkson has had difficulty all year maintaining a lead in a game, a fact Morris hit on afterward.
“We’re still relatively young as a hockey team, and there are still things we need to learn how to do, and that is to find ways to win, and to put teams away when you get up on them.
“We didn’t play a whole 60 minutes. Our effort was solid sporadically; other times we made too many mental mistakes, and we didn’t have the jump in our step that we were hoping to have against Brown.”
On the evening, Danis allowed three goals and stopped 26 shots, while Mattson gave up one goal and stopped 19. Brown was not able to convert on the man-advantage, going 0-for-4, while Clarkson cashed in on three of five power plays.
Saturday, Brown will travel to face St. Lawrence, while Clarkson will host Harvard.