POTSDAM, N.Y. — The second period against No. 10 Clarkson played out like most of Union’s games in the first half of the season.
The Dutchmen were getting great scoring chances, but only scored once. Their shots were either getting stopped by goalie David Leggio or hitting the post.
That proved to be costly when the Golden Knights rebounded in the third period to take a 3-2 victory at Cheel Arena, putting an end to the Dutchmen’s team-record seven-game winning streak.
Still, Union coach Nate Leaman has plenty of reasons to be proud of his team. The Dutchmen (6-4-2 ECACH, 11-9-3 overall) put together an incredible January with the winning streak, and they are tied for fifth place with Harvard and Yale as they head into the final 10 games of the season.
“I think that was a big-time hockey game,” Leaman said. “I’m not disappointed at all in our team. We’re still playing well. I thought we played a hell of a game tonight. I thought they got a couple of bounces, and Leggio played great.”
It was a frustrating second period for Union, which was down, 1-0, after Brandon DeFazio’s first-period goal.
The Dutchmen dominated the Golden Knights (10-3-1, 15-7-2), holding a 19-8 shot advantage. They were flying to the net, and getting quality scoring chances. Leggio stopped 18 shots in the period, including Lane Caffaro’s bid to break the tie from five feet out with 10 seconds left. The only goal he allowed was Mario Valery-Trabucco’s power-play tally at 11:58.
“They dominated the period,” Clarkson coach George Roll said. “We’ve been in that situation a couple of times the last couple of weeks, where we’ve had a great second period, and we weren’t able to score.
“Our goaltender kept us in the game. He played a great second period, and made some huge saves.”
Leggio didn’t stop three other shots, but he got some help from the post three times.
Chris Potts got metal from close range after Leggio stopped Andrew Buote’s wraparound with 13:15 left in the second. With 10:41 to go, Torren Delforte tried to put in the rebound of Brendan Milnamow’s left-point shot, but that caught the corner where the post and crossbar meet. Adam Presizniuk had a breakaway 32 seconds later, but his wrist shot hit the post to Leggio’s right.
“It was disappointing,” said Presizniuk, who assisted on Valery-Trabucco’s goal. “It seemed like we weren’t getting the bounces tonight.”
The Knights took a 2-1 lead at 4:01 of the third period on a nice play by Grant Clitsome. He sent the puck down low to Steve Zalewski, who tipped it past goalie Justin Mrazek.
The Dutchmen tied it with 5:08 left, seven seconds after a Clarkson penalty expired. Mike Harr fired a wrist shot to the net. Presizniuk was in the slot, and he tipped it past Leggio’s right side.
“I knew it was at the end of the power play,” Harr said. “I think [Stephane] Boileau threw [the puck] to me. I was just putting it on net, and ‘Prez’ was there and he tipped it in.”
However, just 1:43 later, Chris D’Alvise fired a shot from the left-wing circle on a three-on-two rush. Mrazek made the save, but the rebound landed on the stick of Shea Guthrie, who was coming down the right wing. Guthrie fired it home for the game-winner.
“It’s an off-angle shot,” Leaman said. “Sometimes, they are tough to handle.”
Clarkson exacted some revenge on Union by ending the Dutchmen’s winning streak. The Dutchmen snapped the Knights’ 10-game unbeaten streak last season with a 2-1 overtime victory last Jan. 20 at Messa Rink.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.