HAMILTON, N.Y. — Chris Line’s goal a little over a minute into the first period and the spectacular play of goaltender Mike Walsh were all the Golden Knights would need, as Clarkson knocked off the Raiders of Colgate 2-0.
Walsh turned aside 22 shots while earning his fourth shutout of the year.
“He’s been a big reason for our success this year,” said Knight head coach Mark Morris. “Our season goes as he goes. Ever since he emerged as our number one goalie midyear last year. We’ve seen a much improved effort in that area and in our team.”
With Colgate unable to find the back of the net, Clarkson rode its two first-period goals to victory. The game-winning goal was scored 1:17 into the game when Line threw a hard wrist shot high to the glove side past Raider netminder David Cann. The Knights continued to dominate the first period, generating 15 shots to Colgate’s seven.
Said Raider assistant coach Andrew Dixon, “We didn’t come out to our game plan. We were back on our heels and it cost us. In this league you can’t take ten minutes off. You have to play the full sixty minutes. We didn’t and it cost us tonight.”
Head coach Don Vaughan was unavailable for comment as he was occupied with handling of an alleged intentional elbow that knocked Colgate forward Kyle Doyle down early in the third period.
“We’re just going to have to take a look at it,” said Dixon. “We’ll probably send it in to the league. Kyle is a little groggy but was able to finish the game. I think he might have been out when he hit the ice, but he’s okay.”
Clarkson added padding to their lead at the end of the first when Jean Desrochers slipped the puck to Chris Blight who was parked in the slot. Cann was in position for the first shot, but Blight poked home his own rebound finishing the scoring for the evening.
Said Morris, “We put a lot of pressure on them and forechecked real hard. We handled the puck exceptionally well and had a solid effort in net. The two goals in the first were the difference.”
Both teams had opportunities on the power play, but neither could fill the net with the man advantage. Colgate has been anemic with the extra man this season, scoring only 16 goals in 127 chances.
“The execution is not there right now,” said Dixon. “We’d like to get at least one power- play goal with the amount of chances we had tonight. It’s something we’re just going to have to keep working on.”
With a two-goal cushion, the Knights were able to concentrate on defense throughout the second and third period.
“We had squandered some third periods and I think we were a little bit leery of getting too offensive and too cute,” commented Morris. “Our main focus wasn’t to go and generate offense. It was to play well defensively.”
The victory proved important for the Knights (13-12-6, 9-5-5 ECAC) as it vaulted them into a tie for second in their conference. They travel to face first-place Cornell tomorrow night. Cornell will be hungry after scraping together a home tie against tenth place St. Lawrence.
“Momentum is the key at this point in the season,” added Morris. “Cornell is obviously the best team in our league right now. Hopefully we’ll be able to take it to them tomorrow night.”
Colgate (12-15-2, 9-8-2 ECAC) fell from a home playoff position and into a tie for sixth in the ECAC with Brown. Having dropped their last two games, the Raiders will be looking to find their winning ways again when they face the Saints tomorrow night.