HAMDEN, CT — Mike Atkinsons hat trick helped propel the Quinnipiac University Bobcats to a 4-2 win over the Clarkson Golden Knights in the ECAC Hockey conference regular season opener for both teams.
We feel fortunate we took two points, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. I dont think we played our best hockey tonight. Clarke played well and made some saves when he needed to.
The game-winning goal came when Atkinson poked an attempted pass out of the Bobcats zone and beat the Clarkson defender to the puck in the neutral zone. Atkinson beat Clarksons Richie LaVeau through the five-hole to give the Bobcats the win with 7:39 remaining in the contest.
Atkinson had two shorthanded goals and added an empty-net goal for the hat trick.
Mook [Atkinson] was really good with the hat trick and that what you need sometimes when you dont have your best game and find a way to win and thats what we did tonight, said Pecknold. He has good instincts to make things happen. Hes a gritty kid.
Clarkson (3-5-0, 0-1-0 ECAC Hockey) controlled play early with a flurry of chances around the slot and crease, but Quinnipiac held strong. Net minder Dan Clarke made numerous saves and the Bobcats defense cleared away any rebound opportunities.
I thought our effort was very good tonight, said Clarkson head coach George Roll. The difference was the two shorthanded goals I thought we made two poor decisions. I was pleased with the effort but not with the results.
With just under one minute remaining to play in the first period, the Bobcats Eric Lampe gave Quinnipiac (5-1-0, 1-0-0 ECAC Hockey) the lead. Lampe blasted a shot from outside the right circle of LaVeau that clanked off the cross bar and in. Scott Zurevinski picked off a pass in the neutral zone and left a pass for Lampe who lit the lamp for his fifth goal of the season.
Clarkson tied the score at 4:16 with a Scott Freeman tally. Louke Oakley carried the puck into the offensive zone and spun around to leave a pass for Freeman, who then beat Clarke through the five-hole.
The Golden Knights took their first lead of the game on the power play. Adam Pawlick sent a shot on net from the right circle that beat Clarke on the ice. Julien Cayer and Oakley assisted on the goal seven minutes through the second period.
I thought we generated a lot of chances and the game could have gone either way, said Roll. Quinnipiac came in and played very physical and I thought we did a good job battling.
Atkinson tied the score at two, when he scored his first shorthanded goal of the game with 4:07 remaining in the second period. After a save by Clarke, Yuri Bouharevich cleared the puck out of the zone to Atkinson, who went one-on-one with a Clarkson defender. Atkinson moved in between the circles and fired a puck under the blocker of LaVeau for the goal.
Clarke finished with 34 saves for the win, while his counterpart LaVeau finished with 27 in the loss.
Quinnipiac hosts St. Lawrence tomorrow, while Clarkson travels to Princeton. Both games are slated for 4 p.m. starts.