DENVER — Taking a look back at the weekend as a whole, Clarkson University coach George Roll thinks his team played a good six periods of hockey.
Given that his team lost Friday to Air Force, perhaps it was only fair that his Golden Knights were able to get the victory Saturday night, topping the Lake Superior State University Lakers, 2-1, in the Denver Cup.
“Obviously, both nights could have gone either way, but I thought we had great goaltending tonight and a great job on specialty teams, especially on our penalty kill,” said Roll.
The game started out slow, with five minutes gone before either team was able to get a shot on net. Clarkson arguably controlled the first period, but the teams ended up scoreless after one.
LSSU came out flying in the second period and, thanks to their efforts, got an early power play.
However, it was the Knights that capitalized on it. Only 4:54 into the second period, LSSU goaltender Kevin Kapalka came into the near corner to play the puck when Clarkson’s Jake Morley came up behind him, snagged the puck and beat Kapalka in a foot race back to the net, sliding the puck in under Kapalka’s stick for the short-handed tally and the 1-0 lead.
The Lakers did get a chance on the same play when Fred Cassiani cranked a shot from the left faceoff dot off the post, but were unable to convert.
However, LSSU was able to tie it up about halfway through the third period. Kyle Jean and Kellen Lain worked the puck out of the corner and Jean got it to Nick McParland in the high slot. McParland took the puck and shot it high stick-side over Clarkson goaltender Paul Karpowich (30 saves).
The tie was short-lived, however. The Golden Knights reclaimed the lead about four minutes later on a power play. After regrouping the puck in their zone, Allan McPherson carried the puck through the neutral zone, made a nice deke around a Lakers’ defenseman and wristed the puck just under the crossbar past Kapalka (29 saves). It was Clarkson’s first power-play goal since November 5 against Colgate, and only their fourth in 54 tries all year.
“They took the momentum away from us and a great individual effort by Allan McPherson on the power play,” said Roll. “Our power play wasn’t great, but a great individual effort; it got us the lead and we were able to hang on.”
Hang on, indeed, as the Golden Knights suffered a penalty with 63 seconds to go in the third. LSSU pulled Kapalka to try and get the equalizer, but were unable to send the game into an extra frame.
“It’s a hard-fought game, an even game,” said LSSU coach Jim Roque. “Our goalie made a bad mistake on the first goal and I thought they got a good play by a kid on a line rush, a real nice play to beat our guy and score a nice goal. A pretty even game; they made the play and we didn’t.
“Not much difference in the teams really; just comes down to a play.”