POTSDAM, N.Y. — Matt Poapst’s second goal of the evening capped a three-goal second period and helped to extend Clarkson’s win streak to four games as the Golden Knights held off a late charge by Dartmouth, 4-3.
A Dartmouth penalty for too many men on the ice gave Clarkson (9-6-3, 4-2-2 ECAC) a five-on-three advantage, and Poapst made it count. Teammate Kent Huskins gave the puck to a waiting Poapst, and Poapst one-timed it past goaltender Nick Boucher.
“We’re not about coming [to Potsdam] and playing okay.” said coach Bob Gaudet. “I thought our guys played hard, but we shot ourselves in the foot with a real tough call in the second period, and that’s the difference in a game.”
Dartmouth (7-8-1, 4-4-1 ECAC) has yet to beat Clarkson at Cheel Arena.
Both teams came out in the first period looking to get the first goal, but neither could convert in the opening minutes on opportunities in front of the net.
Clarkson would strike first at 7:20 in the first period. Jason Costa of Dartmouth was whistled for cross-checking, and just over a minute later the Golden Knights would capitalize. Huskins passed the puck to Poapst, stationed at the top of the right faceoff circle, and Poapst rifled a shot through traffic that beat Boucher and gave Clarkson a 1-0 lead.
Boucher almost added to Clarkson’s lead on a judgement error. As the puck came into the Dartmouth zone, Boucher skated behind the net to retrieve the puck, and when he sent it back up ice, he inadvertently passed it to Clarkson forward Chris Line as he was streaking towards an empty net.
Even though Clarkson had the advantage over the Big Green, Dartmouth regrouped to tie the game at 11:43 in the first, with a power-play goal by sophomore Kent Gillings.
A delay-of-game penalty was assessed when Marc Garceau knocked the net off its moorings. Dartmouth wasted little time, as Gillings had the puck down low on the right side of goaltender Mike Walsh. Gillings’ shot went in front of Walsh unobstructed and bounced in off the far post, knotting the game at one.
The Big Green continued to roll into the second period, as Jamie Herrington picked up an unconventional goal. Dartmouth had the man-advantage, and Herrington got control of the puck deep in the Clarkson zone. Herrington shot the puck from the right corner, and it bounced off the skate of Walsh and trickled into the net before Walsh realized where the puck was, making it 2-1.
Clarkson battled back into the game, and the Golden Knights picked up their second power-play goal of the night at 10:24 in the period on a textbook goal by Don Smith. As he entered the zone, Smith dropped the puck for Dave Evans. While Evans controlled the puck along the boards, Smith drove to the net, and Evans timed the pass perfectly, hitting Smith in the slot and beating Boucher to tie the game, 2-2.
“We’ve been moving the puck around real well [on the power play] and finding the openings, and we just keep working it.” said ECAC player of the week Huskins. Coming into the contest, the Golden Knights were ranked second in the league on the man-advantage at 22 percent.
The Golden Knights wasted little time after the Smith goal to regain the lead, when Chris Bahen picked up the second goal of the period for Clarkson less than a minute later. Bahen took a shot from the center of the Dartmouth zone that was saved by Boucher. However, Boucher was unable to control the rebound, and Bahen lifted it past the prone netminder, putting Clarkson back on top, 3-2.
In the third period, the Big Green kept the puck bottled up in the Clarkson zone, and even with a two-goal lead, it was still anyone’s game. The domination paid off for Dartmouth at 9:25.
One second after a Dartmouth power play had expired, Herrington picked up his second goal of the evening when he skated towards the net from the right corner and beat Walsh, making things interesting at a 4-3 Clarkson lead.
Dartmouth pulled Boucher with under two minutes remaining, but could not make the extra attacker pay off.
“We won the hockey game, but we can play better.” coach Mark Morris said of his team’s effort. “We made a lot of turnovers in critical areas, which we have to avoid if we want to play solid hockey from here on out. On the plus side, the power play is still cooking.”
Indeed, the power play proved effective for both teams. The Big Green went 2-for-4, while Clarkson cashed in on three of four attempts. In a rare event, Dartmouth outshot the Golden Knights, 29-28. The Maturo-Gillings-Murray line, which as of late has been hot for Dartmouth, was held to only one goal and one assist.
Mike Walsh picked up his first win against Dartmouth and his third in a row, allowing three goals and stopping 26 shots. Nick Boucher ended the evening with 24 saves and four goals against.
“[Walsh] played pretty well.” said Morris. “He won the game. He hasn’t been in there all that often, so right now is a proving ground for him to see how much of the load he can carry.”
Dartmouth will travel to Canton Saturday to face St. Lawrence, while travel partner Vermont will enter Potsdam looking to end a five-game skid against Clarkson. Clarkson, however, will be without Bahen, who received a disqualification for fighting Friday.