College Hockey:
DeFazio hat trick lifts Clarkson over Quinnipiac

— Clarkson completed a two-game road sweep this weekend after defeating the Quinnipiac Bobcats, 5-3, at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden. Senior Brandon DeFazio scored three times in the third period to propel his team to their third straight win. This marks Quinnipiac’s fourth straight loss.

“We have started to get a lot more scoring from different areas.” coach George Roll said. “This is big for our confidence going into the holiday break.

Clarkson dominated play in the first period and took the 1-0 lead 10:44 in. Allan McPherson took the long-ice feed from Dan Reed and was able to rip a wrist shot high on Clarke’s glove side.

The Knights extended their lead to 2-0 with 2:18 left in the first after the impressive play of defenseman Bryan Rufenach. Rufenach took the puck in the near-side corner and maneuvered around two Quinnipiac defenders and spun around another before finding open ice. Rufenach made his way into the high slot, where he beat Clarke for his second goal of the season.

“We wanted our guys to stay patient and physically, I thought we were very good; we won the battles.” said Roll.

After a very successful night on the offensive side of the puck on Friday, the Bobcats finished the first period on Saturday with just five shots on goal.

“Clarkson came out and I guess you could say we came out flat,” junior captain Scott Zurevinski said. “Consistency is the problem for us right now. We’ve got a good bunch of guys in the room and we believe in each other.”

Quinnipiac’s offensive struggles continued into the second period. After 1:41 of five-on-three hockey, the Bobcats still couldn’t score. “We had three freshmen out there and with them it is really just trial by fire,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “The good thing is it was real good game experience for those guys.”

It wasn’t until 11:31 of the second period that the Bobcats finally got on the board. Yuri Bouharevich cut the Knights’ lead to one after beating Karpowich low. The play started with a two-on-one led by Spencer Heichman. Heichman gained the line and then sent his pass cross ice to the streaking Bouharevich.

After a late second period penalty to Clarkson’s Scott Freeman, the Bobcats found themselves on the power play to start the third period. Just 1:07 into the third, Jeremy Langlois tied the game at 2-2 after a wraparound shot found the back of the net. It was the first power-play goal of the weekend after Quinnipiac went 0-8 the previous night.

The game would not remain tied for long, as Clarkson took the 3-2 lead just 48 seconds later. This time it was DeFazio who beat Clarke high glove side. After Clarke made two initial saves, DeFazio picked up the puck in the low slot and lifted it top shelf.

Clarkson rebuilt their lead to two 8:24 into the third after DeFazio’s second of the game. Nick Tremblay started the play for the Knights by sending a pass to DeFazio in the high slot. DeFazio went high again on Clarke to beat him stick side.

Quinnipiac answered right back just about four minutes later and again it was on the power play. This time it was Zach Davies picking up his second goal of the season. Davies took the feed from Zach Hansen at the point and rung the puck off the left post and into the net.

DeFazio put the Knights back up by two with 4:51 left in the third on his third goal of the game. After a defensive mishap in the Quinnipiac zone, DeFazio found himself open on the near side. Once again DeFazio went top shelf to beat Clarke to complete the hat trick.

“He had a really good weekend and a pretty good year.” Roll said “He hasn’t been able to score as much as he wants to so far, so we encouraged him to just keep taking shots and it worked for him.”

Clarkson will be back in Connecticut next Sunday against Sacred Heart for their last game before the holiday break. Quinnipiac’s next game will be at Harvard this Wednesday.

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