PRINCETON, N.J. — The confidence has started to flow again for Clarkson.
A day after recovering from a 5-2 deficit, scoring five unanswered goals to defeat Yale, 7-5, the Golden Knights erased a more modest 1-0 Princeton lead to sweep the weekend, winning 3-1 at Hobey Baker Memorial Rink in front of 2,152.
“It was a solid effort from start to finish for us,” said Clarkson coach Mark Morris. “You could tell the win last night motivated us to come out and play tonight.”
Princeton took a 1-0 lead midway through the second period, but the Golden Knights had a 2-1 advantage by the end of the frame and never looked back.
Clarkson co-captain Matt Poapst came right out of the penalty box and headed for the front of the net where the puck was waiting for him to claim at 14:18 of the second period. The goal was Poapst’s second big tally in as many nights. He scored the game-winner to cap off the comeback at Yale.
“Call it fate, but Poapst has found something,” Morris said. “On Jan. 1, he would not have scored that goal.”
In the final minute of the middle period, sophomore Tristan Lush got off a quick wrist shot on the power play that found a way past Princeton goalie Dave Stathos at 19:06 for the 2-1 lead.
After battling Clarkson to a stalemate through the first 30 minutes, Princeton had a chance to take control of the game. George Parros had scored his second goal in two nights to break the 0-0 tie. Shortly thereafter, Poapst took a penalty for obstruction-hooking. The Tigers could not get anything going on the power play and as soon as it was over, Poapst was camped in front of Stathos for the equalizer.
“That is what you call a period of vulnerability,” said Princeton coach Len Quesnelle. “We had a letdown after they killed the penalty and then we gave up a goal in the last two minutes of a period.”
David Evans gave Clarkson some insurance at 6:32 of the third, taking two whacks at a rebound before he could slip it past Stathos.
On the night, Stathos made 22 saves for the Tigers, while Mike Walsh stopped 21 for the Golden Knights.
With a win last night against St. Lawrence, Princeton was hoping for its first sweep of the North Country since 1998-99, when Jeff Halpern was captaining the Tigers. That November weekend was also the last time Princeton defeated Clarkson.
“It was the second night in a row we played hard and gave a full effort,” Quesnelle said. “We need to take some positives out and get ready Cornell and Colgate.”
Clarkson, on the other hand, moved into a tie for second place in the ECAC with Dartmouth and Harvard. The Golden Knights had slipped a little in the last half of January, taking a four game winless streak into this weekend, but the sweep has it right back on track.
“Cornell is going to be real tough to catch,” Morris said. “Dartmouth and Harvard are in the next tier right behind them. If we continue to work hard, who knows what will happen.”
Next weekend, the Golden Knights stay on the road, traveling to Union and RPI, while Princeton sojourns to Cornell and Colgate.