POTSDAM, N.Y. — Don Smith, Dave Evans, and Chris Line each had a goal and an assist as Clarkson (10-6-3, 5-2-2 ECAC) skated past Vermont 5-2 in front of 3,169 fans at Cheel Arena Saturday.
In all, five different Clarkson players scored goals, extending the Golden Knights’ win streak to five games.
After playing in its fourth straight overtime game the night before, Vermont (9-9-1, 5-5-1 ECAC) started the game strong with offensive pressure and puck control.
“We had to weather the storm,” said Line. “We knew [Vermont] had played four overtime games in the last four games. We knew they were going to come out flying after losing to St. Lawrence last night, so we had to wait and focus on playing on our game.”
It took Clarkson a few minutes to counter the Catamounts’ solid play, but the Golden Knights struck first midway through the first period on a rebound goal by Evans.
Line had the puck deep in the Vermont zone along the left-side boards, and put a shot on net that was saved by goaltender Tim Peters. The rebound bounced out in front of Peters, and Evans, all alone in front of the net, was able to poke the rebound in to the goal before Peters could close the five-hole.
Vermont would match that goal before the intermission. A tripping penalty to Rob McFeeters gave the Catamounts the advantage, and they wasted little time as Andreas Moborg was able to capitalize on the mistake. Martin Wilde cycled the puck over to Moborg on the blue line, and Moborg one-timed it on net, beating goaltender Mike Walsh and tying the game at one.
Clarkson broke the game wide open in the second, scoring three goals in just under 10 minutes. McFeeters atoned for his earlier mistake by giving the Golden Knights the lead back just 2:10 into the frame. Murray Kuntz took a shot at Peters that was saved, but the puck found its way out to McFeeters. With Peters out of position, McFeeters was able to score with ease, making it 2-1.
Less than two minutes later, Clarkson picked up its second goal of the period, a power-play marker by Smith. Smith redirected a shot by Kerry Ellis-Toddington and put the Golden Knights ahead 3-1.
The third goal came at 9:25 in the period, as Line poked a loose puck past Peters. Evans had taken the shot from the right side of the ice which bounced off Peters’s right leg. Line was in position to snatch up the rebound and put it home before Peters could recover, giving Clarkson a solid 4-1 lead.
“Our guys have really picked up that area of the game now,” said Clarkson coach Mark Morris on his team’s second-period play. “Early on in the season that’s where we seemed to falter, but we’ve turned that around, and I guess that’s why we’ve been finding ways to win.” In the past three games alone, Clarkson has scored 10 out of 14 goals in the second period.
“The second period [Clarkson] played really well,” said Vermont coach Mike Gilligan. “They battled, they came at us really hard. I was really happy at the end of the first period, and I was miserable at the end of the second.”
“I felt that this was the third or fourth game in a row we haven’t scored timely goals when we’ve had the opportunity. [Walsh] was excellent.”
Walsh had played strong through two periods, but in the third period Vermont turned up the intensity. One potential Catamount goal was waved off as play was blown dead by the referee before the puck crossed the goal line, and later on in the period, Walsh stopped a 2-on-1 Vermont breakaway. In the third period alone, Walsh made 16 saves.
The Golden Knights picked up their final goal of the evening on the power play as Matt Poapst recovered a rebound from Peters and scored, making it 5-1.
Vermont, meanwhile, tallied one more goal late in the period. The Catamounts had the man-advantage, and J.F. Gamelin redirected a shot from the blue line by Jim Gernander that made it past Walsh for a final score of 5-2.
The power play continues to be strong for Clarkson, as the Golden Knights went 2-for-7 with the extra man. Both of Vermont’s goals came on the power play as the Catamounts capitalized on two of eight attempts. Vermont outshot Clarkson, 31-24.
Walsh rolled to his fifth straight win with a solid performance, allowing two goals and making 29 saves. Peters stopped 19 shots and allowed five goals.
Vermont will host ECAC foes Rensselaer and Union next weekend, while Clarkson will travel to central New York to face Cornell and Colgate. Earlier this season, Clarkson lost to Cornell in the first round of the Syracuse Invitational Tournament 2-1, before beating Colgate the next night.