POTSDAM, N.Y. — Freshman Patrick Sharp scored the winning goal in overtime as 10th-seeded Vermont defeated regular-season champion Clarkson 3-2 in the third game of the ECAC quarterfinals before 1,899 fans at Cheel Arena Sunday night.
The loss left Clarkson likely to miss the NCAA tournament, as the Knights stand 12th in the Pairwise Rankings, which mimic the tournament selection process.
With automatic bids going to five conferences’ playoff champions — but not the regular-season champions, thanks to rules changes this year — Clarkson would need considerable help to make the field.
Sharp tallied his 12th goal of the season at 9:04 of the 20-minute sudden-death session, knocking in a loose puck in front to lift the Catamounts to the upset win and a trip to Lake Placid.
Sophomore J.F. Gamelin started the play when he intercepted a Clarkson clearing pass at the blue line and fired a shot on goal. Freshman Jeff Miles gathered the rebound and put a shot on Knight goaltender Karl Mattson, who made the stop, but Sharp slapped at the bouncing puck and knocked in the game-winner.
The only goal in the first 40 minutes of play belonged to the Golden Knights. Clarkson opened the scoring at 13:08 when senior defenseman Kent Huskins took a drop pass from sophomore Kevin O’Flaherty and ripped a shot from the blue line for his sixth goal of the season.
Trailing 1-0 after two periods, Vermont took the lead early in the third with a pair of power-play goals 1:47 apart. Senior defenseman Andreas Moborg scored in front at 4:57, followed by junior Graham Link’s team-high 17th goal of the season at 6:44.
The Knights tied it back up when junior David Evans batted in a bouncing puck in front for a power-play goal at 8:43.
Clarkson outshot Vermont 41-32, but UVM sophomore Shawn Conschafter made 39 saves, including four in overtime. Mattson made 12 saves in goal for the Knights through 18:37 of play, including six in overtime.
Mattson entered the game with 9:33 left to play in the third after Clarkson’s starter, sophomore Mike Walsh, was injured in a collision in the crease. Walsh, who posted 19 saves through 50:27 of play, left the game with a concussion and 14 stitches.
The Catamounts were 2-of-4 on the power play, while the Knights went 1-of-6 with the man-advantage.
The Catamounts (14-17-2), who beat Clarkson 5-3 on Friday, claimed the series 2-1 and moved on to the ECAC Final Five for the first time since 1996. Vermont will play fifth-seeded Dartmouth Thursday in the tournament preliminary game.