PROVIDENCE — Knotted 1-1 going into the third period, Clarkson (12-9-2, 6-4-1 ECAC) scored twice (one of which was an empty-netter) to pull away from Brown (7-8-4, 5-6-1 ECAC) Saturday in Providence, R.I. The loss snaps the Bears’ two-game win streak after victories over No. 1 Yale and St. Lawrence, and drops them to eighth in the ECAC. The win propels Clarkson, who came into the game tied with Brown with 11 points, into sole possession of sixth place, just two points shy of a tie for second.
“I’m proud of our effort tonight,” said Clarkson coach George Roll. “Brown’s an awfully competitive team, and we came in and physically matched them step for step. The game could’ve gone either way, but I’m certainly proud to come in here and get a good win against a hard-working club.”
“It’s mental lapses, it’s mental immaturity,” said a frustrated Brown coach Brendan Whittet about his team’s frequent time in the penalty box (38 minutes for 11 infractions, to be exact) during the game. “Our team forgot what it has to do in order to be successful.”
In a scoreless first period, both sides saw chances to draw first blood. Brown had its best chance about eight minutes in, but was denied by Clarkson netminder Paul Karpowich. Working a three-on-two break, deft passing left Jack Maclellon one-on-one with Karpowich on the left side of the net. Brown’s point leader swooped across the front of the net to set up a shot, but Karpowich denied his finish on a great save.
For the most part, Clarkson controlled the second half of the period, but despite two power play chances and 25 shots, could not find a goal. Brown worked nicely to clear pucks and make line changes, and was twice able to successfully kill the penalties behind 11 Mike Clemente saves in the period.
Brown quickly found themselves a man down only 17 seconds into the second period after Harry Zolniercyck was charged with unsportsmanlike conduct for snowing Karpowich after the whistle. Again, Brown was able to kill the penalty.
Two minutes after the kill, Clarkson forward Lauri Tuohimaa responded and received a five-minute major after launching himself into Brown defenseman Jeremy Russell. On the ensuing power play, Brown was able to work the man advantage to find the back of the net. A shot from freshman Dennis Robertson was redirected into the net by fellow freshman Matt Wahl, putting the Bears on the board first.
For the remainder of the penalty, Clarkson worked well to keep the deficit at a goal, and were soon rewarded for its efforts. Just moments after the Knights killed the five-minute penalty, they evened up the score. Jarrett Burton lit the lamp after a skillful backhand finish beat Clemente in the top right corner of the net. For the remainder of the period, neither team was able to break the 1-1 deadlock, as both sides seemed to get caught up in the game’s increasing physicality.
The third period started off just like the second, as Zolniercyck again went to the box, this time for hitting from behind only 23 seconds into play. This time however, Clarkson was finally able to capitalize on the power play. A deflected puck trickled into the net past Clemente, as Mark Borowiecki was credited with the goal.
“We tried to stretch them out a little bit,” Roll said. “They packed it in and did a real good job of blocking shots and staying in the passing and shooting lanes. We told our guys, ‘Keep your head up and keep your head on a swivel and let’s go to the net,’ and it was certainly not a pretty goal but it found its way to the back of the net and that’s what happens when you put pucks on net.”
“We play a man down the majority of our games,” Whittet said. “We’re not smart, so we’re constantly in the box and it’s our own doing. It’s absolute stupidity on our part and the guys on our team need to figure it out.”
The Bears continued to search for the tying goal, but was again and again turned away by the Clarkson defense, which did well to block shots and clear the puck. Brown pulled Clemente with 1:32 remaining, but still could not find the back of the net. With 50 seconds remaining, Clarkson put the game out of reach with the empty-netter. Brown failed to maintain control of the puck at center ice, and a two-on-one break left Nick Tremblay with an easy tap-in on the vacated goal to put the final score at 3-1.
Next weekend, Brown will travel to RPI and Union, while Clarkson is set to host Quinnipiac and Princeton.