CANTON, N.Y. — St. Lawrence scored six goals in the second period and then held off a late Clarkson charge as the Saints edged out the Golden Knights, 6-5, in round two of the battle of ECAC and North Country foes at Appleton Arena.
“That’s a huge win for us,” said St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh. “Not just because its Clarkson. We’ve had 11 one-goal losses this season. There was more relief than jubilation after this win.”
The first period saw St. Lawrence (7-14-0, 5-6-0 ECAC) skate hard, as it controlled the early momentum. But it was Clarkson (9-10-5, 5-3-4) that netted the game’s first goal at 12:36.
Freshman Randy Jones sent a shot that floated to the net as he was skating backwards, and the attempt somehow found its way in, beating goaltender Mike McKenna and giving the Golden Knights an early 1-0 lead.
Clarkson had an opportunity moments later to break the game open, as McKenna was down and Trevor Edwards had the puck in front of an open net. However it was McKenna that made a tremendous save, grabbing the Edwards shot out of the air.
The Saints were unmoved by the deficit in the first, and things shifted back in their favor when they knotted the game at one early in the second.
A penalty to Jay Latulippe for slashing at 3:38 gave the Saints the opportunity they needed to tie the contest. Senior Ray Dilauro took a shot from the left end of the blue line that was saved by netminder Mike Walsh. But Walsh couldn’t control the rebound, and the puck slid to Rich Peverley. Peverely’s shot found a home in the back of the net, and tied the game at one at 5:27.
Clarkson responded quickly to the Saints’ goal, scoring just over a minute later. Jones cycled the puck to Kerry Ellis-Toddington, and Toddington rifled a shot at net. McKenna made the initial save, but the puck bounced out to Kevin O’Flaherty. With an open net in front of him, O’Flaherty quickly stuffed it in, giving the Knights back the lead, 2-1 at 6:32.
Immediately following the Clarkson goal, senior David Evans was whistled for obstruction-tripping, putting St. Lawrence back on the power play. Within 10 seconds of Evans entering the box, he was back on the ice, as the Saints tied the game on a goal from Blair Clarance.
Clarance’s goal was just the beginning for the Saints, as they unleashed four more goals in the period and entered the second intermission with a 6-2 lead.
At 10:40, Ziga Petac broke off the St. Lawrence bench and across the ice to receive a Jeremy Cormier pass up the ice. All alone with the puck, Petac waited for Walsh to make a move before he skated around Walsh and put the puck past the prone netminder, putting the Saints up 3-2 in the process.
“He’s got very deceptive speed,” said Marsh on Petac’s goal. “He can pull away from a lot of guys, he played very well.”
St. Lawrence’s next goal came at 12:38 when Jim Lorentz sent a shot at net from the right side of the ice that beat Walsh low and increasing the lead by two, 4-2.
Clarkson head coach Mark Morris replaced Walsh after the fourth St. Lawrence goal, turning to Karl Mattson in hopes of stopping the flood, but it didn’t seem to stop the Saints from scoring.
Ryan Glenn scored his first goal of the season at 14:29 when he took a Lorenz feed in the slot and sent a quick wrist shot high past Mattson, making it 5-2. Moments later Charlie Daniels found his name on the score sheet when he deflected a weak shot by Dilauro from the left side high into the net at 15:54, giving the Saints a 6-2 lead.
“I don’t know where that period came from, but it was the farthest thing from what we were after,” said Morris afterwards. “I credit St. Lawrence for riding the wave and for really exploiting our mental lapses.”
Walsh returned in net to start the third, and with him returned the same Golden Knights team that had started the game, as Clarkson mounted a comeback.
Just 3:51 into the third frame Chris Line took an O’Flaherty pass and sent a blast at net from the left side that beat McKenna, cutting the lead to 6-3.
The next two Clarkson goals came within a minute of each other. At 12:36 of the third, Ian Manzano took the rebound after McKenna had stopped two shots and scored. At 13:25, Jones floated a shot at net from the top of the right faceoff circle, and Tristan Lush redirected the puck past McKenna, a power-play tally to make it a 6-5 game.
Clarkson pulled Walsh in the final seconds of the third in hopes of notching the equalizer, but the Golden Knights could not score.
McKenna made 31 saves and allowed five goals in the win for St. Lawrence, while Walsh stopped 37 shots, including a career-high 17 in the first period, and gave up four goals. Mattson made six saves for Clarkson, and allowed two goals. Both the Golden Knights and the Saints scored two power-play goals, Clarkson going 2-for-4 with the man advantage, while St. Lawrence went 2-for-6.
“It comes down to being consistent and playing with a big heart,” said Morris. “There’s no question that the third period and the first period were indicative of the way we can play. Take nothing away from St. Lawrence, but I thought we outplayed them in the first and the third. The second period was totally unacceptable.”
Matt Poapst had three assists to pass the 100-point plateu for his career at Clarkson (101).
The Golden Knights are still winless on the road, going 0-7-4 away from Cheel Arena, including an 0-6-3 mark in the ECAC.
Friday Clarkson will travel in hopes of breaking a five-game winless streak when it faces off against Yale at 7 p.m., while St. Lawrence will be at Princeton.