POTSDAM, N.Y. — Chris Blight’s goal at 18:17 of the second period proved to be the only offense of the evening, and Clarkson goaltender Mike Walsh stopped 20 shots, as the Knights defeated Union, 1-0, on Saturday evening at Cheel Arena to remain undefeated in ECAC play.
Clarkson (9-7-3, 5-0-2 ECAC) has only allowed two goals in the last four games.
“The two goals can be attributed to the whole team playing tougher,” said Clarkson goalie Mike Walsh. “We’re picking up guys, we’re picking up sticks, we’re doing stuff that we weren’t doing in the first half of the year.”
Blight’s goal came when Kevin O’Flaherty sent the puck from the back of the net at goal, and the puck found its way over to Blight on the right side. Blight’s attempt was the only one that beat Union goaltender Kyle Loney.
The game started with back-and-forth hockey, as neither team controlled the momentum of the game for too long. The Golden Knights outshot the Dutchmen, 9-2, in the first frame. Play evened out in the second, and the period mirrored the first in action until Blight’s goal.
The third period saw Union turn up the intensity in hopes of getting the equalizer, but the Dutchmen were unable to find a hole in Walsh. Union head coach Kevin Sneddon pulled Loney for the extra attacker in the waning seconds of the third, and even though the added pressure challenged Walsh in the final seconds, the puck never got past him.
“Low shot games, you have to stay mentally tough,” remarked Walsh afterwards. “In the first period there were two shots, I was wondering if it would be another 10-shot game. I’m glad the action picked up in the end.”
“We’re excited about the four points, but we were hoping for a little more effort on our part,” said Clarkson coach Mark Morris. “It was less than we expected, we were hoping to build on last night’s energy. Credit Union with a real gutsy performance, they battled it out until the final buzzer. They had a few chances to beat us, but Mike Walsh was spectacular.”
Walsh ended the evening with 20 saves, while Loney had a solid night, stopping 28 and allowing the lone goal. Neither team cashed in on the power play, as the Dutchmen went 0-for-3, while the Golden Knights went 0-for-2.
“It was one of those games where there wasn’t a lot of shots on goal, there wasn’t a lot of odd man rushes,” said Sneddon. “For the most part it was going to come down to a goal that was battled around for in front of the net, and Clarkson won that battle.”
The return of Rob McFeeters is still in question for Clarkson. A knee injury Friday night has sidelined the sophomore for an indefinite time period. The Golden Knights hope to find out McFeeters’ status early next week.
Next week, Union will host travel partner Rensselaer in a Wednesday night matchup before hosting Findlay for a non-conference weekend, while Clarkson will travel to face Dartmouth and Vermont.