MacMaster, Quinnipiac stun No. 3 Clarkson, 4-3


HAMDEN, Conn. — Two minutes was all it took for Quinnipiac to dethrone the nation’s No. 3 team in Clarkson by a 4-1 final Friday.

An opening goal by Tanner MacMaster, good for his 12th of the year, opened up an otherwise turbulent first for both clubs. After a pair of stick checks in the defensive zone kicked the puck to the periphery, MacMaster picked it up to spark an odd man rush sealed with a five hole shot.

“I didn’t like the way we started tonight. I didn’t like the first period. It’s not a full 60 minutes,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “It’s tough when you’re on the road and you know they’re coming off a tough loss on Tuesday. We knew we were going to get a grade-A effort from them and it ends up in the loss column.”

Odeen Tufto scored his sixth of the season with a give-and-go with Nick Jermain to pull Clarkson goaltender Jake Kielly out to beat him high again. With the two goal cushion, Quinnipiac committed to closing down defensively.

“I don’t think it’s one thing, I think it’s a culmination of everything. Our stick on puck, our gap, keeping shots to the outside, boxing guys out, not letting them get to the doorstep,”  Quinnipiac captain Chase Priskie said. “When we do everything, it makes life pretty hard for the other team.”

The victory was the first since 2010 that an unranked Quinnipiac team struck down a ranked opponent, previously taking down No. 8 University of Nebraska-Omaha 3-2 on the same Hamden ice.

Clarkson appeared to jump back on a shallow backhand by Devin Brosseau that would have halved the lead. After a flurry of activity, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold called the officiating team over to look at the goal again. Originally believed to be offsides, the goal was called back for a too many men on the ice infraction.

“There’s no communication. I don’t know what they were reviewing. It seemed like they were reviewing an awful lot of things. I guess I don’t know the rule,” Jones said.

“They claimed there were too many men on the ice. It was a long discussion before the review. Either you’re challenging and going, but there was a lot of delay before a review was taken.”

In the dying seconds of the second period, Alex Whelan picked up the puck away on the boards and scorched another up high against Kielly.

“Missed a guy coming off the bench. We had everyone in position and then all of a sudden he’s over the shoulder of and on the back door,” Jones said of Whelan’s goal.

The team’s national leader on the power play, entering the night at No. 5, were stifled by Quinnipiac sticks and deflections. Jones did not intend to change too much with either unit, satisfied in spite of the 1-for-3 result.

“Our top unit, our top line, they’re getting keyed on, they have to fight through some adversity,” Jones said of the leading trio of Brosseau, Sturm and Rempal.

“They’re not getting much open space, they’re going to have to work hard to get their spots. They’ve got a target on their back, they’re a great line. There’s less ice to work with right now than there has in the past.”

Clarkson quelled the chance for a shutout with a power play goal with 19 seconds left in a man advantage. Jack Jacome had the shot in the slot skip off the fingertips of a defenseman leaning for a block. The puck skipped to Kevin Charyszyn with the play pulled nearside, vacating the blocker side post for a light touch on his sixth of the year.

An empty net would send the Quinnipiac crowd to frenzy for the upset.

“We’re going through it. We’re learning how to handle being hunted. It’s another step in the development process for our program,” Jones said.