POTSDAM, N.Y. — Senior forward Nick Dodge scored twice, including the game winner, as No. 7 Clarkson earned a bit of revenge Saturday night, beating No. 10 St. Cloud State 3-2 at Cheel Arena.
It was Clarkson’s first win over St. Cloud State in four games over the past two seasons.
“Both teams competed at a high level tonight,” Clarkson coach George Roll said. “Overall I was pleased with 120 minutes of hockey this weekend.”
After an exciting 15 minutes of action at both ends of the ice in the final period, Dodge put Clarkson ahead for the first time on the evening almost singlehandedly. Taking a shot from the dasher, Dodge rushed in to collect his own rebound and just hacked away at the puck until he could maneuver it between the legs of sophomore Jase Weslosky, who had been playing shutout hockey in relief of freshman Dan Dunn. The puck sat on the goalpost to Weslosky’s left, and Dodge managed to poke it in with a final burst of effort to finish his flurry.
“(Weslosky) had been playing well all weekend,” Dodge said. “I knew I’d have to be persistent in order to have a chance to get it past him. I just kept working at it down low.”
Roll said the play was a microcosm of Dodge’s ability to turn a game through his own dedication.
“When he plays with that kind of enthusiasm and energy, it just brings everyone else along with him,” he said. “He’s always a major factor in the game when he plays like that.”
Clarkson dominated the first while St. Cloud started slowly. Freshman goalie Dan Dunn was forced to make 15 saves during the opening frame. Leggio was equally sharp, however, stopping 12.
A delay of game penalty to Ryan Lasch with seconds remaining in the first carried over into the second, but it was the Huskies that scored first on that penalty kill while Lasch was still cooling his heels. A clear by Aaron Brocklehurst was picked up by Swanson in the neutral zone.
“I was trying to protect the puck from my defender,” Swanson said. “I just tried to shoot it five-hole and it snuck through.”
Clarkson goaltender David Leggio got a piece of the shot, which trickled into the net for a shorthanded goal.
Four minutes later, the Knights scored in similar fashion. Dodge took a cross-ice pass from Chris D’Alvise as SCSU rushed to regroup after losing the zone on the power play. The quick shot hit the net before Dunn could move himself across the goal mouth.
St. Cloud took the lead for a second time with a five-on-three goal. SCSU put on a textbook example of the two-man advantage, cycling the puck and pinching in until Roe found an open shot on the edge of the left faceoff circle that Leggio had no chance to stop.
Just a few minutes later, Huskies’ captain Matt Stephenson was assessed a hooking penalty and a misconduct to go with it after jawing at referee Mike Baker. Without one of the team’s best penalty-killers, the Huskies struggled as Clarkson fought to tie the game, ending with Shea Guthrie finding the back of the net after a frenzied scrum in front of the net.
With the score tied and 20 minutes left to go, the game turned into a prizefight, with both sides throwing haymakers and looking for the knockout blow, ultimately delivered almost singlehandedly by Dodge.
“I thought we played about ten times better tonight,” junior defenseman John Swanson said. “Even though we lost, it was a much more fun game to be involved in as an athlete. It was just a better game overall.”
Critical after last nights game, Motzko was more satisfied after the loss than the win.
“If both of our teams are going to be contenders at the end of the year, and this was a sign of what we’re both going to be doing, everyone’s happy with the outcome,” he said. “We just made enough mistakes to cost us this game, but we were right there at the end.”
St. Cloud State returns to WCHA action next weekend with a trip to Madison, Wis. to take on No. 12 Wisconsin. Clarkson travels down Route 11 to face arch-rival St. Lawrence in ECAC play on Saturday.
Tom Reale writes for the St. Cloud Times