POTSDAM, N.Y. — The power play finally came around for Clarkson, as the Golden Knights went 4-for-8 on Friday night against Miami en route to a 5-0 win at home in Cheel Arena.
“We kept doing the same thing we were doing last week,” senior co-captain Matt Poapst said after the game regarding the power play. “They’re going to eventually go in, and it shows tonight. We did the same thing we did last week, and they went in this time.”
Coming into the game, Clarkson (1-1-1) had gone 0-15 with the man advantage in two contests.
The game started off with some back and forth action, as each team had a handful of quality scoring chances. Both teams battled hard in the corners and behind the net for the puck, but it was the Golden Knights that broke the scoreless tie when Poapst picked up his first goal of the season in the first period.
A call on A.J. Kratofil of Miami for interference set up the power-play opportunity for Clarkson late in the first. Kevin O’Flaherty passed the puck up to Poapst on the right side of the blue line. Poapst then fired a shot that beat goaltender David Burleigh glove side, scoring just 11 seconds into the power play at 14:55 for a 1-0 lead.
Miami came out of the gate hard in the second frame, eclipsing Clarkson in shots and drawing three man-advantage opportunities. But Clarkson shifted momentum when it scored just nine seconds after killing off the third Golden Knight penalty of the period. Sophomore Tristan Lush broke down the left side of the RedHawk zone and passed the puck to teammate David Evans. Evans had the puck on the doorstep and put it past Burleigh at 12:11. The goal was Evan’s 30th at Clarkson.
The Golden Knights picked up the pace just over four minutes later, when Lush notched a power-play goal for Clarkson. Kerry Ellis-Toddington had control of the puck just below the blue line along the right side and fired a shot on net. The puck redirected off of Lush’s stick and went high to beat Burleigh at 16:14.
The third period saw more of the same from Ellis-Toddington, as he recorded both of the goals for the Golden Knights. Ellis-Toddington received a pass from Poapst and took a shot from the center of the Miami zone that beat Burleigh at 1:08. At 11:27 Poapst drove to the net from the left side, and fed the puck back to Ellis-Toddington for the goal. Both scores came on the power play.
“I think Ellis-Toddington was stellar tonight,” said Clarkson coach Mark Morris. “Our defensive core played pretty well. They took care of a lot of shots, and [goaltender] Mike Walsh stood tall when he was called upon.” On the evening, Ellis-Toddington had two goals and an assist, while Poapst had a goal and two assists; both Jay Latulippe and Dave Reid picked up two assists.
Miami didn’t seem to have any luck at all on the night, going 0-for-9 on the power play. The closest the RedHawks came to putting the puck in the net came on two separate occasions, when shots from Mike Kompon and Bart Stevens ringed wide off the post.
“We had some chances we were unable to bury,” commented Miami coach Enrico Blasi afterwards. “We took some dumb penalties, and [Clarkson] capitalized. Whenever you’re playing a top team like Clarkson and if you give them chances they’re gonna make you pay.”
Clarkson goaltender Mike Walsh made 28 saves in his first shutout of the season, while Burleigh made 14 saves and allowed 4 goals. David Bowen came in for relief for most of the third, posting two saves and allowing one goal.
Tomorrow both teams will play again at Cheel Arena at 7:30 p.m.