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College Hockey:
Friars Ride Strong Start to Win Over Clarkson

— For a change, things started early for Providence on Saturday night. The Friars jumped out of the gates in the first period, scoring two power play goals on the way to a 4-2 win over Clarkson in a non-conference game.

The Friars rebounded from an overtime loss to St. Lawrence on Friday, while Clarkson dropped its fourth straight game, all out of conference.

Co-Captain Jon DiSalvatore netted the first goal of the night at 9:05. Providence controlled the zone on the power play when Devin Rask found Stephen Wood at the point. DiSalvatore deflected Wood’s shot up over the shoulder of Clarkson goaltender Karl Mattson for his ninth tally of the season.

“That goal really got us going,” said DiSalvatore. “We really needed something positive to happen for the team. It helped us to answer some questions we might have had following last night’s loss. Before tonight’s game, we made a new commitment to each other and the team. We will feed off of this win and use it to get where we want to be.”

The Providence power play, which has struggled so for this season (5 for 43 entering the game), continued to click in the first. Later in the period, Drew Omicioli skated to the right faceoff circle where he fed Peter Zingoni down low. Zingoni found Chris Chaput open in the low slot for the Friars’ second power-play goal of the night, only their seventh of the season.

Providence coach Paul Pooley said, “I thought our power play was great tonight. I told the team tonight that we needed two goals on the advantage and they went out and got the job done. They scored two goals and almost got a third.”

Clarkson (4-6-1, 3-0-0 ECAC) pulled Mattson in favor of Mike Walsh to start the second frame and the Golden Knights responded, evening the score in a penalty-plagued second period.

The Knights scored their first goal of the evening on a breakaway by Chris Blight. Adam Campana won a faceoff to center ice. Blight picked up the loose puck and skated in alone on Providence goalie Nolan Schaefer. The winger dropped his shoulder like he was going five-hole and instead flipped a backhand over the netminder’s outstretched pads.

Clarkson rallied off of that goal, playing inspired hockey for the rest of the period, gaining the Providence zone at will and maintaining possession for long stretches of time. They began to wear the Friars down mentally as well as physically.

As Clarkson broke over center ice, Providence defenseman Shawn Weiman put a tough hit on the man with the puck. He was whistled for charging and, during the delayed period, Providence’s Chris Chaput was called for a high-sticking penalty.

The Knights capitalized on the 5-on-3, scoring the equalizer at 15:16 of the second period. Matt Poapst won the draw back to Kerry Ellis-Toddington who walked into the slot and slapped one on net. Randy Jones tipped the shot past Schaefer to knot the game at 2.

Providence (5-8-1, 3-5-0 HEA) responded in the third period, striking early with the game-winner. Chaput broke into the slot and flipped a backhand on net. Omicioli collected the rebound and put it into the back of the net at 6:08.

Jason Platt added an insurance goal for Providence two minutes later. The sophomore defenseman picked up his first of the season on a shot that found the back of the net after hitting a leg and a skate.

Despite being pulled in Friday’s contest, Nolan Schaefer played a strong game in net for Providence. He was only beaten on a breakaway and a 5-on-3, making 27 saves to bring his record up to 5-7-1.

Mattson and Walsh combined to make 18 saves with the latter taking the loss for Clarkson.

A frustrated Clarkson coach Mark Morris was unavailable for comment following tonight’s game.

Both teams will return to league play next weekend.

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