POTSDAM, N.Y. — Friday’s Game 1 ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal series contest between Clarkson and Colgate lived up to its billing as a defensive match up as the regular-season champion Golden Knights, behind 19 saves from senior David Leggio, shut out the Raiders 1-0 before 2,213 fans at Cheel Arena.
Equaling its longest unbeaten streak of the season at five games (4-0-1), Clarkson, ranked seventh in the nation, improved its record to 21-10-4. The Raiders, the 8th seed in the playoffs, fall to 16-16-6. The teams will play the second game of the best-of-three series on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Clarkson withstood some early pressure by the Raiders and made the most of its first power play to extend its unbeaten streak against ECAC Hockey foes at Cheel Arena to 23 straight games (18-0-5). The Knights out shot Colgate 25-19, but Leggio who ran his shutout streak against the Raiders to over 141 minutes, was the difference early in the contest.
Colgate, benefiting from a power play just 24 seconds in and another man advantage opportunity at 5:23, dominated the start and held a 6-0 shot advantage through the opening seven minutes. Leggio, however, came through with several key stops to keep the visitors off the scoreboard, and finished with 10 saves over the first 20 minutes.
Clarkson finally got on track and took the lead late in its first power play of the game. With 28 seconds remaining in the man advantage, ECAC Hockey’s leading goal scorer came through to put the Knights on top, connecting for the first goal between the two teams in five periods. Senior Steve Zalewski found a loose puck in front of the Raiders’ goal and swept a shot behind Colgate’s Mark Dekanich at 16:24 for his 20th goal of the season. Senior defenseman Grant Clitsome and junior Chris D’Alvise assisted on the game-winner.
Killing off its second Colgate power play in the middle frame, the Knights came close to making it 2-0 during a 3-on-1 rush, when D’Alvise one-timed a pass from sophomore Tim Marks, but Dekanich was able to come up with a pad save on the hard shot to keep it a one-goal game.
Colgate came to close to tying the contest late in the second when Dustin Gillanders nearly made Clarkson pay for some sloppy play in its own end, but his quick shot from the left circle deflected off the post.
The Knights shut down Colgate in the final period limiting the Raiders to just three shots on net. Colgate pulled Dekanich for the extra skater with 56 seconds to play, but Clarkson played strong along the boards and did not allow a shot on goal.
Dekanich finished with 24 saves. Clarkson was 1-of-2 on the power play and killed off all four Colgate man-advantage opportunities.