HANOVER, N.H. — It’s taken the Clarkson Golden Knights just four games this season to do what required 18 contests last season: Win three games on the road.
Boasting a 3-for-8 effort on the power play and a three-goal burst before the game was 12 minutes old, No. 13 Clarkson doubled up No. 11 Dartmouth Saturday night, 6-3, at Thompson Arena to complete an ECAC Hockey League road sweep of two of the Ivy League’s toughest home teams.
Steve Zalewski had a two-goal, two-assist night for the Knights (6-1-1), who are now 3-0-1 away from Cheel Arena after a miserable 3-15-0 road campaign in 2005-06.
“Right now, we just want to have some success on the road,” Clarkson coach George Roll said. “That’s one of the things we wanted to turn around, and we’ve certainly done that. Overall, what we’ve done so far is a real positive step for our program.”
The Golden Knights’ fast start turned into the golf equivalent of winning a tournament in the first round.
Grant Clitsome, Shea Guthrie and Zalewski all scored in the first 11 minutes, 17 seconds of play for a 3-0 Clarkson lead. Clitsome’s goal was an utter fluke, a behind-the-red-line dump that took one hop and eluded Dartmouth goalie Mike Devine’s left leg at 6:50.
The Big Green (2-2-0) matched the Golden Knights’ three power-play goals with three of their own. Unfortunately, it took 16 man-up chances to get that far. It again showed how much Dartmouth continues to miss senior Grant Lewis, who sat out his third straight game with a sprained ankle.
“Yes, we could use Grant in every situation … but what happens is other guys are logging significant ice time for us,” Gaudet said. “We’ve got young defenseman getting some minutes that they probably wouldn’t have gotten without Grant’s injury.
“I don’t know when it’s going to be, but when we get him back, it’s going to be a real breath of fresh air.”
Clarkson’s Matt Beca sandwiched a power-play goal between similar strikes from the Big Green’s Ben Lovejoy and Nick Johnson in the second period as the Knights (6-1-1) maintained their edge. They extended it with an unassisted Chris D’Alvise strike in the third off a glaring Lovejoy giveaway and Zalewski’s second of the night 2 minutes later.
David Leggio made 34 saves for the win, including two spectacular robberies of Dartmouth freshman T.J. Galiardi in the first period. Galiardi got a measure of revenge with a third-period goal for the Big Green, which visits Colgate and Cornell next weekend.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.