POTSDAM, N.Y. — Senior captain Matt Poapst and sophomore Trevor Edwards each picked up two goals as Clarkson (5-6-3) upset No. 4 New Hampshire 8-5 Friday evening to break out of a six-game winless slump.
“I thought our greatest play came against Harvard last week. We dominated them, and we came up with one goal for a tie,” said Poapst. “I was talking to Chris Line one day, and I said to him, ‘One of these days the puck is just gonna go into the back of the net, and we’re gonna break out for an eight- or 10-goal game.”
Although UNH (9-3-2) controlled the opening faceoff, Clarkson struck first just :25 into the game. Sophomore Jean Desroches skated from right to left with the puck unobstructed in front of goaltender Matt Carney. When Carney went down, Desroches lifted the puck into the net to give the Golden Knights their first lead, 1-0.
The Wildcats responded quickly to the early deficit, scoring :15 after the Clarkson tally. Steve Saviano had the puck low along the left side, and he fired a shot that beat netminder Mike Walsh along the ice, tying the game.
Clarkson continued to test Carney, but the senior stopper notched two big saves when he denied the Golden Knights with a double-pad stack. However, just over a minute later, Clarkson regained the lead with a power-play goal by Rob McFeeters.
McFeeters skated into the Wildcat zone from the left side, and floated a shot at net. Carney stood to glove it out of the air at the post, but could not control it, as it bounced out of his open glove and into the net, giving the Golden Knights back the lead and McFeeters his first goal of the season, 2-1 at 10:28.
Once again the Wildcats responded quickly to the deficit, scoring just 30 seconds after the second Clarkson goal. On a faceoff in the Golden Knight zone, Josh Prudden drew the puck back to Mike Lubesnick at the blue line. Lubesnick rifled the puck at net, and it deflected off Colin Hemingway to find a home in the back of the net at 10:58, knotting the game at two.
UNH took the lead for the first time in the contest on a goal by Sean Collins. Ian Manzano was whistled for tripping, and the Wildcats put the man-advantage to good use. Hemingway was down low on the left side, and he sent a pass to Collins, who one-timed it into the net at 16:13.
Clarkson bounced back from the late period deficit to tie the game with just :05 remaining in the frame. Adam Campana dropped the puck in neutral ice to Trevor Edwards. Edwards then entered the Wildcats zone along the right side and lifted a shot at net that went over Carney’s glove and into the net to make it 3-3 after one.
The Golden Knights started off the second period the same way they started the first, scoring 12 seconds into the stanza. Ken Scuderi put a backhand attempt at net that was saved by Carney. But the bounding puck bounced away from the netminder, and Campana was there to stuff it into the net and give Clarkson the lead 4-3.
The Wildcats allowed Clarkson its longest lead of the evening up to that point — just over five minutes — before they tied the game once again. Saviano skated into the Golden Knight zone on a 2-on-1 shorthanded opportunity, and he fed the puck to linemate Darren Haydar, who crashed the net and beat Walsh, tying the game at four at 5:40.
Every time Clarkson had taken the lead, UNH had battled back to tie. The Wildcats’ early luck would soon end, as the Golden Knights reclaimed the lead when they took control of the game late in the second period. At 15:35 Kevin O’Flaherty centered the puck from the low left to Campana in front of the net and Campana made the opportunity count, as Clarkson led again, 5-4.
The Golden Knights extended their lead to two on Poapst’s first goal of the evening. A penalty to UNH for too many men put Clarkson on the power-play once again. O’Flaherty sent the puck from the left faceoff circle in the zone over to Poapst on the right side of the goal, and Poapst quickly put it home, making it 6-4 at 19:04.
Shortly after Clarkson’s sixth goal, O’Flaherty was whistled for holding, giving UNH the man-advantage. This time, it was the Wildcats that scored with :05 remaining, when Hemingway picked up his second goal of the evening. Jim Abbott fired a shot from the right face-off circle that ringed off the near post. The puck went to the left side of the ice where Hemingway happened to be skating, and he sent the puck back at net and beat Walsh to cut the Clarkson lead to one, 6-5.
The early goings of the third had a scary moment for the Wildcats, when Kevin Truelson was checked hard into the boards. Truelson was down for a few minutes before he was helped to his feet a little lightheaded, but able to skate off.
Clarkson picked up its seventh goal of the game when Poapst scored his second goal of the game. The Golden Knights found themselves on the power-play again, and Kerry Ellis-Toddington fed the puck from the left corner over to Poapst in the right faceoff circle. Poapst wristed the puck past Carney to restore the two-goal lead, 7-5 at 7:32.
The final score of the game was Edwards’s second of the game, when he took a centering pass from Line and connected to beat Carney at 16:47.
“It was a coach’s nightmare for two periods,” said Clarkson coach Mark Morris. “It could have been anybody’s game, but the thing we’re going to hang our hat on is how well we played in the third. We probably didn’t see UNH’s best effort tonight, and our play in the third is a good indication that we can play against good teams.”
“Mark had his team ready to play,” said UNH coach Dick Umile afterwards. “They played very well against us. They were quick, we couldn’t control them in our defensive zone. I was disappointed with the way we played tonight. They were passing the puck around, and we were just standing there in our own zone.”
On the evening, Walsh made 11 saves through 40 minutes of action for Clarkson, and allowed five goals. Morris elected to bring in Karl Mattson for the final period, and he made a total of eight saves. Carney made a total of 22 saves for the Wildcats, and allowed eight goals.
The power-play was helpful for both teams, as the Wildcats brought their Hockey East-leading 26% conversion on the man-advantage and used it to pick up two goals out of seven attempts, while Clarkson went 3-for-7 with the extra attacker. On the evening, 12 different Golden Knights found themselves on the scoresheet.
Saturday UNH will travel to Canton to face St. Lawrence, while Clarkson will host UMass-Lowell.