TROY, N.Y. — David Evans scored with 4:49 left in the third period and the Clarkson Golden Knights hung on to defeat the homestanding Rensselaer Engineers, 3-2.
With the win, the Golden Knights move to 7-6-3 (2-2-2 ECAC), and the Engineers fall to 10-6-1 (4-4-1 ECAC).
With time winding down in the third period, Clarkson’s Kent Huskins took a shot from the blueline which Nathan Marsters saved. But Evans dug the rebound out from in front of Marsters and backhanded one past Marsters for what turned out to be the game winner.
“I’ve been struggling to put the puck in the net,” said Evans. “Hopefully I can get rolling now.”
“I’m proud for David — this is home turf for him and anybody that plays in their own backyard likes to have a game finish on that note,” said Clarkson head coach Mark Morris of the Capital District native. “He’s been through a tough stretch trying to put the puck away, so this was a huge one for him and his confidence.”
Rensselaer coach Dan Fridgen was frustrated about the one lapse that cost his team the game.
“Third period, lost faceoff, a missed assignment and a goal, it’s that simple,” said Fridgen. “It’s disappointing but we have to park it and come back strong tomorrow.”
The Engineers had come back from an early 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the first period. Just 1:52 in, the Golden Knights broke the ice with a power-play goal by Huskins. Huskins had the puck come to him at the right faceoff circle, and with Engineer goaltender Kevin Kurk out of
position, Huskins had an empty net to put the puck in.
The Knights would make it 2-0 just 1:21 later as Murray Kuntz’s shot eluded Kurk and ended his night in favor of Marsters.
With 2:37 left in the first period, the Engineers inched closer as Marc Cavosie, fresh from a stint at the World Junior Championships, came down the right wing and snapped a shot that went high on goaltender Mike Walsh, making it 2-1.
Just 37 seconds later, Scott Basiuk took a shot from the blueline that hit Cavosie in front and went off of Walsh and into the net, tying the score at 2-2.
“I was having trouble getting to the net, so I decided to shoot and let it rip and it ended up working out well,” said Cavosie. “The second goal was just a battle in front of the net and it went off me. Sometimes those are the goals you get.”
The game remained that way until Evans won it in the third, but it could easily have been different. Both teams hit the post a few times, and the Engineers had five breakaways that were either shot wide or stoned by Walsh.
“We’d like to have some of those breakaways back, but Mike Walsh had a fantastic outing for us and he came up big when he was called upon,” said Morris. “He was the difference in the game tonight.”
“It was a big win and this one we had to work for it,” said Evans. “It’s a big win for our team and now the ECAC is heating up and we can start our season.”
The Golden Knights will travel to Union on Saturday evening, while the Engineers will host St. Lawrence.
“They played a real solid game and they us pinned in our end a lot, so it was hard for us to get out and get shots on net,” said Cavosie. “It’s a tough loss, but we’ll come back.”
Morris hopes this is the type of win that will propel his team toward another of those legendary second-half runs.
“We got off the beaten path for a short time,” said Morris. “RPI’s a team that can turn a two-goal lead around in a hurry. We controlled most of the first, the second period we had to kill way too many penalties, and in the third period, we dug our heels in and made sure we had something to build on because it’s been kind of a dismal start for us so far.”