TROY, N.Y. — If the Clarkson Golden Knights were affected by the controversies surrounding the team and head coach Mark Morris, it certainly didn’t show on Friday night. The Golden Knights took a 2-0 lead and then held the Rensselaer Engineers scoreless for the last 44 minutes of the game to beat the Engineers, 2-1, and earn their first victory of the season.
“We talked a lot about not bringing emotion into the hockey game,” said interim coach Fred Parker. “You want a certain amount, but if it gets taken away from you then you don’t do too well. They were level-headed and they worked hard for 60 minutes and that’s what we wanted.
“They’re mature people and they’ve dealt with a difficult situation very well. We were due for a win and it just happened that it came tonight.”
Morris is on administrative leave while the school investigates an incident that occured after practice last Saturday.
The Golden Knights got on the board exactly halfway through the first period when Adam Campana came in and took a shot on Kevin Kurk. Kurk stopped the initial shot, but left a rebound which Campana pushed over him for the 1-0 lead.
Only 1:37 later the Knights made it 2-0 on the power play. Randy Jones got the puck at the blue line and snapped a wrister that went high over Kurk’s left shoulder.
The Engineers got their own power play goal with 4:16 left in the first period. After a scrum in front, Mikael Hammarstrom pushed the puck underneath Mike Walsh.
For the next 44 minutes, the Golden Knights would withstand the pressure from the Engineers and hold on for the win.
“It would have been a little bit of a different game if we had come out with a better start,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “That was one of our goals, but the opposite happened. We did a good job to get within one and just couldn’t get that equalizer.”
Kurk made 27 saves in the game while Walsh made 24.
“I thought we put some pretty good pressure on them and a bounce here or a bounce there, it just wasn’t meant to be,” said Fridgen. “I thought we had some good pressure at times and there were some shots that [Walsh] didn’t see and they just hit him and we kept it pretty close and we just couldn’t get that equalizer.”
The game was littered with penalties. It saw Ben Barr of the Engineers receive a major and game misconduct for a hit from behind on Rob McFeeters, plus a few 5-on-3 chances.
Clarkson (1-3-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) will travel to take on Union on Saturday night while the Engineers (4-5-0, 0-1-0) will host St. Lawrence.
Notes: The shift after Campana scored the goal, he suffered an undisclosed injury and missed the remainder of the game. … Vic Pereira of the Engineers sat in the penalty box for nine minutes — all on penalties that he did not commit. He served Barr’s five minute major and two bench penalties.