POTSDAM, N.Y. — There were two teams on the ice that had lost one-goal games the night before. Someone was going to come out of this weekend with zero points, and one with only two points. In the end, a two-goal third period led the Clarkson Golden Knights to two points in the ECAC with a big 3-1 win over the Rensselaer Engineers.
“They’re all big now,” said Clarkson coach Mark Morris. “We squandered two points last night [against Union] and we made this a must win. We can’t afford to slide from here on in. We didn’t make the most of our opportunities on home ice last night and that still sticks in my mind.”
After gaining a 1-0 lead, the Knights came back to tie it in the second and won it in the third period.
“It was crucial to our confidence to have a good outcome in a close game like this,” said Clarkson captain Kent Huskins. “We just kept putting pucks on their net and ones went in.”
The Engineers broke the ice as Conrad Barnes scored his first collegiate goal. Barnes and Nolan Graham broke down on a two-on-one and Barnes snapped one that went over the shoulder of Mike Walsh for the 1-0 lead.
“We knew the defenseman would be pinching hard and Murls just threw an indirect and I just pulled the trigger,” said Barnes. “It felt pretty good, but it doesn’t feel as good because we lost, but it does feel good getting the first one.”
“That was a real positive,” said Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “Conrad getting his goal and we talked about him shooting and he did a good job getting that done.”
Later in the second period, the Knights would tie the game. Jean Desrochers came in on the wing and put a puck towards Marsters. His save rebounded out to David Evans and he put one into a vacated net to tie the score.
Reigning ECAC Player of the Week Rob McFeeters gave the Golden Knights the lead for good in the third period. McFeeters was able to get the puck in the slot after a feed from Kevin O’Flaherty and got his own rebound and put one past Marsters.
The Knights got insurance later in the period as Matt Poapst poked the puck past Scott Basiuk and came in alone on Marsters. His hard shot beat Marsters to the stick side for the 3-1 lead.
That was all the Knights needed as they didn’t let the Engineers set up their offense.
“It’s adversity and throughout the season you face it,” said Fridgen. “We’re certainly looking at adversity right now and it will be interesting how we handle it.
“In both games, going into the third period we had an opportunity to win and coming out on the losing end can certainly chip away at ones confidence.”
The Knights (14-9-3, 9-5-2 ECAC) will travel to take on Harvard and Brown next weekend while the Engineers (13-11- 2, 7-7-2 ECAC) will host Princeton and Yale.
“I was very pleased with the effort in the third period and we didn’t give them many chances at all,” said Morris. “We shut down their big guns, played a physical brand of hockey and Walsh saw most pucks and we came from behind.
“But we still have a lot of work to do.”