POTSDAM — The losing streak is over for the Clarkson University men's hockey team, though the team is still looking for its first win in seven games.
The Golden Knights picked up a 2-2 tie with Canisius College in a nonconference game before 2,487 fans at Cheel Arena Saturday night thanks to a late power-play goal from sophomore Lauri Tuohimaa.
Clarkson (2-7-3) had lost six straight games, including a frustrating 4-3 defeat to Canisius on Friday, when it was just 13.8 seconds away from a 3-2 win.
"You play that hard, if you end up losing that game it would be devastating," Clarkson coach George Roll said. "I thought we deserved a better result. We played hard, especially in the second and third periods. I think it's a positive step."
Statistically, Clarkson dominated the Golden Griffins (6-5-3). Clarkson outshot Canisius 36-17 and held the Golden Griffins to just five total shots in the second and third periods.
"We were on loose pucks, moving our feet, and we were good on the forecheck," Roll said. "We'll win a lot of games if our effort continues as good as that."
Clarkson even broke out its new alternate gold jerseys in a hope to get some kind of spark to get out of a long dry spell. The team's last victory came against Brown on Nov. 7. Roll also gave freshman goalie Richie LaVeau his first career start.
But Canisius struck first, scoring at 9 minutes, 36 seconds of the first period when Vincent Scarsella put in a rebound of a shot from John Patera.
The Golden Griffins had a chance to build a 2-0 lead while short-handed when Dave Kostuch skated in alone on LaVeau on a breakaway, but he was denied by the freshman, who finished with 15 saves.
Canisius extended the lead to 2-0 with a goal from Pat Kenney during a scramble in front of LaVeau at 9:10 of the second period.
"I thought we battled really hard," said Canisius coach Dave Smith. "Clearly Clarkson brought a lot of energy and importance to the game. But we got three out of four points on the weekend, and it's a tough building to play in."
Clarkson has had trouble building leads this season and has led after two periods just once, in the season opener against Rochester Institute of Technology.
The Golden Knights also had experienced trouble scoring in the second period of games. Clarkson snapped a drought that extended back to Oct. 24 when Shea Guthrie scored his first goal of the season at 14:31 of the second period. Jake Morley and Bryan Rufenach assisted on the play.
"The puck went in the air and might have hit off one of their (defensemen)," said Guthrie. "It was a good effort tonight. It's not a win, but it's a step in the right direction for us. We were hustling and had good puck control down low."
Rufenach, who had a goal and an assist Friday, played a part in Clarkson's game-tying goal at 14:35 of the third period as he picked up his second assist of the game on a power-play score from Tuohimaa. Julien Cayer also assisted on the play.
"We moved it around on the power play, and we're getting some good movement," Rufenach said.
Saturday's game was also another solid defensive performance by a unit that had been beleaguered.
"We knew had had to play better defense and went from there on," Rufenach said. "We're happy that we worked harder and played more as a team."
Things don't get any easier for Clarkson as it resumes ECAC Hockey play next weekend with games at Central New York rivals Cornell and Colgate.
"Cornell is playing so well right now," said Guthrie. "Hopefully we can elevate our game a little more next weekend."
nNOTES:Had Clarkson lost Saturday, it would have tied a school record set in the 1943-44 season with seven straight losses. ... Former Clarkson goalieChris Bernard, a Brasher Falls native, attended Saturday's game. Bernard was also an assistant at Canisius for two years and coached and recruited many of the Golden Griffins' current players.