Yochim’s late goal lifts Princeton to upset win over Clarkson

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PRINCETON, N.J. — Saturday’s game at Hobey Baker Rink saw its share of offbeat moments.

It started with technical difficulties before the first puck was dropped, moved on to a second-period penalty parade by host Princeton, and ended with a freshman defenseman potting the game-winning goal on a late power play against the third-ranked team in the nation.

Reid Yochim put Princeton ahead for the first and only time of the night with 5:27 remaining in regulation, scoring from atop the crease as the Tigers came back to defeat No. 3 Clarkson, 4-3. Princeton (10-10-3 overall, 7-8-1 ECAC Hockey) has now won four straight games, all in conference play, while the Golden Knights (19-6-3, 11-3-2) are winless in their last three outings.

“We just tried to move it around quick,” said Yochim afterwards. “It was a broken play, and I got to the front of the net and put it in. It was a pretty exciting moment.”

Prior to the opening faceoff, the crowd at Baker Rink sang competing versions of “O Canada” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the prerecorded anthems wouldn’t play. It didn’t take long for visiting Clarkson, which lost at Quinnipiac on Friday, to get going after that.

Latvian import Haralds Egle drove to the net and put home a power-play goal three minutes into regulation to give Clarkson a 1-0 lead. The Golden Knights were outshooting the host Tigers better than two-to-one when Princeton knotted the score on Ryan Kuffner’s goal at 7:27, his fourth in four periods and 19th of the season. Kuffner had tallied a hat trick in Friday’s 5-4 come-from-behind overtime victory over St. Lawrence.

Eric Robinson put Princeton ahead, 2-1, at 15:23 of the first session, a score that held up until Clarkson notched its second power-play goal of the night just over two minutes into the second stanza, this one by Josh Dickinson. Less than eight minutes later, Dickinson fed Kevin Charyszyn cross-ice, left to right, for an open shot and a 3-2 lead. Princeton then weathered a parade of four consecutive penalties, including 10-minute misconduct calls to Robinson and Matt Nelson, and also killed off a five-on-three Clarkson advantage to stay within a goal.

“We’re on our fourth year now,” said Princeton coach Ron Fogarty of his tenure with the Tigers. “We’re learning how to win, and to play with adversity.”

Clarkson netminder Jake Kielly (26 saves) held the fort in the closing seconds of the second period by making several in-close saves, including a one-timer from the slot by Princeton’s Max Veronneau. He was doing much the same in the third period, but David Hallisey’s close-in try ultimately managed to get over the goal line with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation to make it a 3-3 contest.

That set the stage for Yochim, who was playing on the power play in place of injured teammate Josh Teves. Jackson Cressey assisted on both of Princeton’s final two goals.

Princeton rookie goaltender Ryan Ferland (33 saves), who had been pulled from the St. Lawrence game the night before, preserved the victory with a point-blank stop at the right post on Clarkson leading scorer Sheldon Rempal with 59.3 seconds left. Rempal finished with a game-high seven shots on goal, as Clarkson outshot Princeton, 36-30.

“He bounced back and made some great saves,” said Fogarty of Ferland.

The Golden Knights were then unable to get the equalizer after pulling Kielly for an extra attacker for the final minute of play. Princeton visits Brown and Yale next weekend, while Clarkson will host Cornell and Colgate.