PRINCETON, N.J. — A three-goal deficit and a sharp goalie were too much for Princeton to overcome in a fiery, spirited ECACHL matchup won by Clarkson, 3-2, at Hobey Baker Rink.
Forward Mike Sullivan was key for Clarkson (6-12-2, 2-5-1 ECACHL) early on, scoring two goals, including the game-winner, and goalie Kyle McNulty frustrated the Tigers (5-11-1, 4-7 ECACHL) as they tried to make a comeback. He finished the game with 24 saves.
“It was an excellent hockey game,” Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky said. “It was a good, physical hockey game.”
The excitement for the home crowd began with under a minute left in the second period. With the Golden Knights up 3-0, the Tigers got on the scoreboard with a highlight reel-worthy goal.
Forward Dustin Sproat backhanded a pass to a rushing Luc Paquin, who weaved through the offensive zone, deked a defender and McNulty and backhanded the puck in the open net, energizing the crowd. The goal was the fourth of the season for the defenseman, who entering the night was second in the ECACHL in scoring, trailing only Sproat.
“A big goal by Luc and a real nice play by Sproat. That was one of the nicest vision plays, I think, of the year by Dustin Sproat,” Gadowsky said.
The Tigers continued the comeback attempt midway through the third when Brian Carthas received a Patrick Neundorfer pass and beat McNulty for his second goal of the season. Sproat also tallied his second assist of the game on the play.
However, Princeton would fall short, and McNulty came up with some big saves down the stretch, at one point prompting Sproat to slam his stick on the ice in frustration.
“You have to give a whole lot of credit to their goaltender,” Gadowsky said.
Princeton was on its heels from the start, as forward Erik Pridham got a five-minute major and a game misconduct for hitting from behind at 1:46. While the Tigers were able to kill off the penalty, Clarkson gained offensive momentum, which it used to go up 2-0 in the first.
With forward Neil Stevenson-Moore off for holding 13 minutes in, the Golden Knights capitalized on the power play. Forward Jay Latulippe ripped a shot from the circle that goalie Eric Leroux slowed, but as the puck slid behind him and trickled toward the yawning net, Mike Sullivan nudged the puck over the goal line for his first of the night.
Then with 1:17 to go, Sullivan passed the puck from behind the goal line across the slot to Mac Faulkner for his eighth goal of the season.
At 17:31 of the second the Golden Knights took a 3-0 lead as Sullivan was credited with his second of the night during a goal-mouth scramble.
“It’s good to get a Friday win. A good road win. Hopefully we can bring the momentum into Saturday’s game,” McNulty said. “We definitely put the effort in tonight and we came out with a good, solid win.”
Princeton continues its homestand against St. Lawrence while Clarkson travels to Yale Saturday night.