NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Clarkson Golden Knights netted five unanswered goals in the third period — including four in the last 4:10 of the contest — to defeat the host Yale Bulldogs 7-5 and earn their first road win of the season, in front of 3,486 stunned fans at Ingalls Rink.
“We just erupted in the third period,” said Clarkson head coach Mark Morris, who now has 299 career coaching victories. “I give our guys a lot of credit for playing with a lot of heart.”
With five minutes remaining in the game, the Elis appeared well on their way to victory, leading 5-3. But a win was not in the cards for head coach Tim Taylor’s squad, which was playing at Ingalls for the first time in two months.
“I don’t know what happened,” Taylor said. “The roof caved in. I don’t have an answer, but we were back on our heels [in the third] and maybe clock-watching a bit. We didn’t play like winners, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. It just seemed like a blur.”
What is clear, however, is that Clarkson used the final five minutes to do what they had largely failed to for the previous 55 — beat both the Yale defenders and Bulldog netminder Dan Lombard.
The Knights cut the Yale lead to 5-4 at the 15:50 mark when a Tristan Lush slapshot from the top of the right circle beat Lombard stick-side. Just 1:07 later, during a four-on-four situation, Chris Bahen fired one past the stick of the Eli netminder to tie the score at five. Clarkson recorded its third goal in a 2:23 span at 18:27, taking the lead for good on a high Matt Poapst slapshot. The goal prompted a Yale time out, and Lombard vacated the net shortly after the faceoff, but after Yale mounted an offensive threat, Clarkson came up with the puck in the neutral zone, and Kerry Ellis-Toddington scored his second goal of the evening on an empty net at 19:09 to put his team up 7-5.
In what seemed like an eternity by the end of the game, the Knights lit the lamp first, 16:59 into the first period when Poapst corralled a loose puck behind the Yale net and sent a nice feed to Chris Line in the left circle who wristed one past Lombard. The Clarkson advantage was short-lived, however, as 24 seconds later Vin Hellemeyer fired in a Jason Noe rebound to tie the score, which carried into the first intermission.
The Elis scored three goals in the first nine minutes of the second stanza. Just over two minutes in Ryan Trowbridge took advantage of a loose puck off a shot that Knight goalie Mike Walsh couldn’t handle cleanly to give Yale a 2-1 advantage. Hellemeyer’s second goal made it 3-1 in favor of the home squad. The sophomore winger fired in the rebound from a Chris Higgins shot for his fifth goal in three games. It was Higgins who scored Yale’s fourth goal on a man advantage at 9:05. Higgins took a pretty pass from Ryan Steeves to net a 15-footer.
Randy Jones scored Clarkson’s second goal from between the circles at 12:14, which capped the scoring on the second period.
Jason Noe scored Yale’s fifth and final goal of the evening 2:04 into the third on a spectacular behind-the-back, backhand shot. The Bulldogs were up 5-2, and seemingly on their way to victory.
But the Knights took advantage of the power play for their third goal of the night, which came at 6:20 in the third when Ellis-Toddington fired a low liner from the right wing circle. The teams were scoreless for the next 9:30, before the Knight eruption.
Both squads return to action Saturday night, with Clarkson visiting Princeton and Yale looking to re-group against St. Lawrence.
“Recovering is the challenge,” Taylor said. “This was a devastating way to lose a game.”