SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Messa Rink is beginning to be a bit of a nightmare for the Clarkson Golden Knights. In the past two seasons, Clarkson has lost by a combined score of 19-3.Tonight the Golden Knights found themselves on the losing side again, falling 5-2 to the Union Dutchmen. The loss snapped Clarkson’s five-game unbeaten streak in ECAC play, and extended Union’s winning streak to nine games over the Golden Knights.
The Dutchmen looked a little slow coming out of the gate, but after a few minutes, they were able to shake the rust and dominate Clarkson. They outshot the Golden Knights 21-3, and outscored them 4-0 in the first period.
Union scored its first goal at 2:45 thanks to Mark Bennett, who skated into the slot and fired a shot at net.
A little less than a minute later, at 3:20, Union tallied another. Josh Jooris recovered the puck behind the net and stuffed in a wraparound attempt before Clarkson goalie Paul Karpowich could kick his skate out.
At 8:19, on Union’s second power play of the night, Kelly Zajac found Kyle Bodie in the corner. With no secure passing lane, Bodie shot it in himself for the score.
Union’s final goal of the period came in the final seconds. In fact, the goal had to be reviewed to make sure it crossed the crease before the buzzer went off. After review, Wayne Simpson was credited with the power-play goal, as he slipped the puck in off a rebound.
“Obviously the first period hurt,” said Clarkson coach Casey Jones. “I thought we came out of the gate pretty quick, but a couple of pucks found the back of our net that we didn’t expect to, and that we didn’t recover from. We did after the period was over, but we could’ve had a better jump in the middle of the period to recover.”
In the second, Union looked to keep up its torrid pace. Despite being on the penalty kill, Union managed to add to its lead at 2:32.
The goal was scored after Bodie blocked a shot, and then found the puck to start a breakaway opportunity. Sam Coatta joined Bodie on the breakaway, and, after receiving a nice feed near the net, Coatta tapped it in for the one-timer goal.
“Our coaching staff has been harping at us to pressure up at the point,” Bodie commented on the goal. “Me and Coatta did a nice job on the switch there, and I got a bounce off my shin pad, then it was off to the races. Coatta was going hard to the net, and I just threw it across to him. He did a great job bringing it down.”
“One of the points in the scouting report was to block shots, and I thought Kyle did a tremendous job blocking that shot,” Union coach Rick Bennett added. “It’s amazing how, when someone blocks a shot or finishes a hit, the puck somehow mysteriously finds him, and you are actually rewarded for that.
Perhaps content with the 5-0 lead, the Dutchmen became a bit complacent and the Golden Knights ratcheted up the pressure.
“It is just a thing we are trying to grow with as a team right now,” said Rick Bennett. “We are trying to not sit back. We want to play on our toes, not on our heels.”
“It is good to get a lead early and get a bit of momentum, but we want to stay on an even keel and play the whole game as if it is 0-0; we don’t want to be satisfied with what we have,” added Mark Bennett.
Nick Tremblay got Clarkson on the board at 11:27. Tremblay received a pass from Louke Oakley in the corner and skated in front of the net and slid the puck in under Troy Grosenick’s pads for the score.
In the third, Sam Labrecque got Clarkson on the board one more time, but that is as close as the Golden Knights got.
Union will host St. Lawrence tomorrow, while Clarkson will travel to face RPI. Both games start at 7 p.m.