POTSDAM, N.Y. — Vermont and Clarkson skated to a 1-1 overtime tie at Cheel Arena Saturday as goaltending was the story of the night, as Clarkson’s Dustin Traylen and Vermont’s Joe Fallon nearly matched each other save-for-save.
Both teams earned three all-important points in the ECACHL standings. Clarkson defeated Dartmouth 4-1, and Vermont toppled nationally ranked St. Lawrence 4-3 in another overtime tilt on Friday.
Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon recognized the difficulty of a trip the North Country, and because of that he appeared satisfied to get a win and a tie on the road.
“Certainly we would have liked to get two points tonight, but, getting three of four points in the North Country is a great accomplishment.”
The first period had very little rhythm where it seemed play was stopped in every conceivable fashion. Vermont scored the only goal of the frame, a breakaway tally off the stick of Brady Leisenring. Scott Mifsud took the puck on the left side in the neutral zone. Mifsud hit Leisenring with a pass with no one around him. The senior assistant captain cut across the slot, waited for Traylen to make the first move, and tucked it in on the forehand. Torrey Mitchell also assisted on Leisenring’s third of the year at 11:42. Leisenring did not finish the game as he sustained an injury in the second period.
Vermont had 1:00 of a 5-on-3 and had numerous golden opportunities to lengthen the lead, but weren’t able to do so. Defenseman Kenny Macaulay hit the post from the point and moments later Chris Myers hit the crossbar on a rebound attempt from the left circle.
Vermont controlled play in the period and held a 19-6 advantage in shots.
“First period, Vermont took it to us,” said Clarkson coach George Roll. “They had us on our heels, and outplayed us in every facet of the game. Traylen kept us in the game.”
The Cats didn’t let up in the second. Leisenring intercepted a lazy pass between defensemen in the UVM zone early in the period. He jetted down the ice and in on Traylen. The goalie held his ground and thwarted an attempt through his legs.
Vermont hit yet another post nearly four minutes in. Art Femenella came barreling down the left side and swatted a rebound off the post.
“Pipes are a goalie’s best friend,” said Sneddon. “Had we connected on a couple of those plays, the outcome might have been different. It’s a game of inches as they say.”
Jeff Corey had a breakaway of his own later in the period. He split both defensemen but Traylen made another solid save at 9:07.
Clarkson then came on in the last half of the period. Goaltender Joe Fallon made a handful of great saves to keep the lead.
The Golden Knights finally broke through on Fallon with two seconds left in the period. Chris Blight scored on a backhand shot in front past Fallon. Mac Faulkner assisted on the equalizer, Blight’s fourth goal of the season. Clarkson seemed to have the momentum heading into the third.
But, Vermont’s Tim Plant almost put the visitors on top again at 2:37 of the third. Plant pounced on a loose puck near the left circle, took a few strides and snapped a shot that Traylen snagged stylishly with his glove.
Traylen stopped Corey cutting to the net at 9:40 with an acrobatic save to keep the game tied.
Vermont then almost got the go-ahead marker out of pure luck a minute and a half later. A Vermont shot came off the boards at an awkward angle, and bounced just wide of the net, vacated by Traylen, who came out to play the puck.
Clarkson had a great chance to win in the final seconds of the extra session. Nick Dodge had his shot stopped by Fallon with his pad.
“Hats off to Clarkson,” said Sneddon. “We won the first half of the game, but they won the second half.”
“I was much happier with our effort in the second and third periods,” Roll said. “We competed on every shift, and had chances to win the game.”
While Roll, too, seemed content collecting three points on the weekend, he would like to get back to a mindset where his players anticipate a sweep at home.
“When Greg Drechsel and I were assistants, and [current assistant coach] J.F. Houle played here, we expected to get four points at home. We have to get back to that mentality,” he said. “We cannot be satisfied with three points.”
Traylen finished the contest with 35 saves for the Golden Knights, while Fallon made 27 saves for Vermont.
Clarkson (3-6-1, 1-2-1 ECACHL) is back in action Wednesday at St. Lawrence. Vermont (5-4-2, 3-0-1) remains unbeaten in six games and is back home Friday and Saturday skating with Cornell and Colgate.