POTSDAM, N.Y. — Union survived a wild four-goal third period to defeat Clarkson in front of 2,814 at Cheel Arena Friday night. The Dutchmen won their fourth in a row with three of those coming on the road, and moved into a tie for third place in the ECAC with Yale.
“A lot of people have done a lot of hard work for this program and now it’s paying off,” said Union assistant captain Chris Goodjohn, who tallied two goals, including the game winner, and registered an assist, earning him the first star of the evening. “We just have to keep coming after tonight. We play in tight league and we don’t want to take anything for granted.”
Goodjohn scored the first goal of the contest at the 2:17 mark of the first on a goal that could only be described as “fluky.” Marc Neron saucered a pass to Goodjohn, who was tangled up with Clarkson defender Dave Reid, the puck caromed off of Goodjohn’s skate and to the opposite side of Clarkson goaltender Mike Walsh, who was playing pass all the way.
“Of course my stick hit it,” said a grinning Goodjohn. “We’ve been getting the good bounces lately and tonight was another example.”
Union kept the first-period intensity strong by notching a power-play goal at 5:33. With Clarkson’s Jay LaTulippe serving a roughing minor Union’s Joel Beal found Jordan Webb in the slot. Webb fired off a one-timer that beat Walsh to the stick side, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead
“I think that second goal woke Clarkson up,” said Union coach Kevin Sneddon. “They mounted a comeback and fortunately we had enough to hang with them and to answer when we needed to answer.”
Clarkson turned the momentum around at the 15:22 mark of the first period, gaining a two-man advantage when Union captain Nathan Gillies gathered a roughing penalty. Union killed off the five-on-three but could not stop the ensuing five-on-four power play.
Clarkson captain Kevin O’Flaherty fed a pass from behind the net to Matt Syroczynski, who took a shot but was denied by Union goaltender Chris Mayotte. However, Mayotte could not control the rebound and was beaten top-shelf by Tristan Lush.
Lush’s goal gave Clarkson the momentum going into the second. The home team came out with physical play in the period, but it was the Dutchmen who notched the period’s only tally.
In a four-on-four situation, Union’s Max Seel made a pretty behind-the-back drop pass to Glen Sanders. Sanders ripped a shot that beat Walsh to the short side, restoring the two-goal advantage and the momentum to the Dutchmen.
After a back-and-forth beginning of the third period things got wild at the 10:29 mark, when Joe Carosa snapped a high shot which beat Mayotte glove side and lit a fire under the home team.
The Dutchmen responded just 47 seconds later on Goodjohn’s second goal of the night.
With Reid serving a hooking penalty, Goodjohn one-timed a Scott Seney pass past Walsh to give Union what seemed to be the final two-goal lead.
“In years past we would get up by a goal or two and go into a shell,” said Goodjohn. “Now it seems we can always answer back.”
Clarkson had other thoughts as O’Flaherty tried to center a pass from behind the net to linemate Rob McFeeters. The puck hit Union defenseman Brent Booth in the skate and went under Mayotte to bring Knights back within one with 7:25 left to play.
However Union answered 25 seconds later as Gillies stole a clearing attempt from Reid and roofed a shot past Walsh, sealing the game for the Dutchmen.
“We didn’t play to the level of our ability,” said Sneddon, “But we found a way to win ugly. Our senior leaders really came through for us, especially Nathan Gillies. He provided a tremendous amount of leadership from the bench tonight. When we got up by two he stressed to the team not to hang back, to keep up the pressure. When you have to win ugly, you need leaders like that.”
“Tonight their better players played better than our better players,” said disappointed Clarkson coach Fred Parker. “Physically we stepped up, but any time you spot a team in this league or any league a two-goal head start it’s going to be difficult getting wins.”
Union looks to extend the winning streak Saturday night at St. Lawrence. Clarkson looks for the weekend split, hosting Rensselaer.