POTSDAM, N.Y. — Clarkson controlled two periods of play and outshot Princeton 44-11 to earn a weekend split by defeating the Tigers 5-2 at Cheel Arena. Randy Jones tallied the game-winner to keep Clarkson in the hunt for first-round playoff home ice.
After a first period that saw no scoring, Clarkson scored two goals in twelve seconds in the second frame and the game-winner netted just eight minutes later.
Clarkson captain Kevin O’Flaherty scored his eleventh goal of the season by knocking in a rebound off of fellow captain Dave Reid’s shot at 13:37 of the second. Reid tallied his own goal at 13:25 as he fired a slap shot from the blue line that fooled Princeton netminder Eric Leroux and gave the home team a 2-0 lead.
At 14:06 Clarkson defenseman Randy Jones netted the third Clarkson goal. Jones faked a shot and tucked the puck around a Princeton defender, Jones let a wrist shot go that beat Leroux stickside giving Clarkson the 3-0 lead.
“Our seniors came out to play tonight,” said Clarkson head coach Fred Parker. “They worked hard and netted some big goals. (Reid) has been struggling lately and it was nice for him to get one there, I think it really gave us a push we’ve been looking for.”
Clarkson needed that extra boost of energy as Princeton answered with two quick goals from Chris Owen at the end of the second period.
With 3:22 left to play in the second Owen slapped a one timer off a Jesse Masear pass which beat Walsh top shelve reducing the lead to 3-1.
Owen tallied 23 seconds later as he took a George Parros pass and beat Walsh glove side cutting the Golden Knights lead to 1 with 2:59 to play in the second.
“That line really gave us a chance,” said Princeton head coach Les Quesnelle. “Playing in this building is a challenge, especially for a young team and tonight they took it to us.”
Clarkson dominated play in the third allowing only 2 Princeton shots and scoring two goals. Jean Derochers and Tristan Lush tallied their 3rd and 7th goals respectively in the frame.
“We need to deal with adversity, and tonight we saw some different players enter into the mix. This is a good thing when coming into a playoff stretch,” said Parker.
Parker put an apparent end to any goaltending controversy by announcing Walsh would be the starting netminder the rest of the way.
“It’s up to me the rest of the way,” replied Walsh. “Our defense played awesome tonight. We slowed down a little after scoring the first couple goals but we picked it up and we’ll see if this can carry on the rest of the way.” “It’s great to see everyone step up and get these points,” said Clarkson senior defenseman Chris Bahen. “From no one it’s playoff time. We want to build off these two points and hopefully carry this momentum into next weekend.”
“It’s real good to get the win,” said O’Flaherty speaking of Clarkson’s senior night. “There’s real mixed emotions, as much as you want to stay in college forever, it’s been a great four years and it’s not over yet.”