PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Mike Walsh and the Golden Knights of Clarkson came out to play Saturday, as they rolled over Brown, 4-0, at Meehan Auditorium. The junior goaltender made 23 saves to shut out the struggling Bears, as the Knights moved back within a point of first place.
“Mike Walsh has been a force for us,” Clarkson head coach Mike Morris said. “It’s a far cry from what we had at the beginning of the season, as far as goaltending is concerned.”
Although Walsh’s play was sharp when necessary, his teammates controlled the flow of the game, and prevented Brown from any sustained momentum. Walsh’s most sparkling moment came during a long five-on-three opportunity for Brown in the third, where he made six of his 12 saves in the period.
“We played it well,” Walsh said, referring to the long penalty kill. “My defensemen cleared all the rebounds, and let me see all the shots.”
Clarkson (16-9-3, 11-5-2 ECAC) spread out its scoring, tallying in all three periods. The Knights’ superb handling of the puck in their own end, and dominance of faceoffs, enabled them to virtually dominate the action.
“I thought we were flat tonight,” Brown head coach Roger Grillo said. “We were emotionally drained from last night. We have to be tougher. We got out-muscled.”
Freshman forward Rob McFeeters got Clarkson on the board, scoring on the power play midway through the first. After Kevin O’Flaherty won a draw cleanly back to the point, McFeeters knocked home the rebound of a shot from Matt Poapst.
A few minutes later, Adam Campana was left all alone to cut in towards the net from the left boards. He slipped it past Brown’s freshman goaltender, Yann Danis, who made 33 saves.
In the second, the Bears (4-19-2, 2-14-2) killed off two tough penalties and looked to be getting back into the game. John Petricig came down on a two-on-one with Doug Janjevich, looking to get Brown on the board and cut the lead in half. He made a beautiful goal-mouth pass to Janjevich, but Walsh made a fabulous save to stun the Bears.
Minutes later, Clarkson extended its lead to 3-0, this time on a long shot that trickled through Danis. Defenseman Chris Bahen fired a shot from the blueline, which sat on the goal line, until junior forward David Evans put it in.
Evans would add another one in the third, when, during a delayed penalty, the Golden Knights found themselves on a two-on-one. Forward Jean Desrochers, who had two assists, made a nice feed to Evans, who deked Brown’s netminder for the goal.
Brown’s one last gasp came on an extended power play. After Clarkson took three penalties in a matter of two minutes, the Bears looked to get back in the game. But Walsh was great, keeping them off the board all night.
The five-on-three typified Brown’s scoring troubles, as it never got its hands on a rebound or a loose puck. The Bears’ losing streak is now extended to nine games, and they have been officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Clarkson, with two wins this weekend, is in great shape as it prepares for postseason play. Every team has to be looking for a hot goalie as the season nears its end, and that’s what the Knights have.
“It was a good feeling,” Walsh said. “We were all on tonight. It was a great game for us.”