Clarkson (6-4-2) is playing its first game outside of the North Country since it competed in the Mutual of Omaha Stampede in Nebraska on Oct. 8-9.
The Golden Knights went 5-3-2 in the stretch of 10 straight games in the area. The only game outside of Cheel Arena was a 2-1 win over St. Lawrence University in Lake Placid on Oct. 30.
This weekend Clarkson traveled to Denver to compete in the Denver Cup, through the tournament has a set schedule and Clarkson will not be facing the No. 12 Pioneers.
Clarkson opens the tournament with a game at 6:37 tonight against Atlantic Hockey's Air Force Academy (4-6-1), which is from nearby Colorado Springs.
The Golden Knights conclude the tournament with a game at 6 p.m. Saturday against the CCHA's Lake Superior State (3-6-1), which is coached by former Golden Knight assistant Jim Roque.
Stats of the Night
vs. Air Force:This game features an interesting special teams matchup. Clarkson's penalty kill, which is at 89.9 percent, ranks fourth nationally. Air Force has converted on 21.7 percent of its power plays, which ranks 15th nationally.
vs. Lake Superior State:Clarkson does its best when it scores first and has a lead after the first period and Lake Superior State has been a generous team in first periods this season. The Golden Knights are 6-0-1 if they are ahead, or tied, after the first period and 6-0-2 when they score first. Lake Superior State has led after one period just once this season and has been outscored 20-11 in the first period this year.
Who to Watch
Clarkson:You could make a strong case for Matt Zarbo as the Golden Knights Most Valuable Player to this point of the season. He's leading the team in goals, with five, and ranks second in scoring with nine points. But he's the only player averaging more than one point a game, as he did not dress in Clarkson's first four games. He's also at plus-six. Brandon DeFazio leads the team in points with three goals and seven assists in 12 games. Paul Karpowich is 6-4-2 with a 2.69 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. He's hit 90 percent, or better, in eight of Clarkson's 11 games this season.
Air Force:Senior forward Jacques Lamoureux is the main offensive threat for the Falcons, even though he's tied for second on the team in scoring with three goals and eight assists. For his career he has scored 58 goals with 48 assists in 89 games. The team's leading scorer is John Kruse, who has four goals and nine assists. The leading goal scorers are Paul Weisgarber with seven and Jason Fabion with six. Jason Torf and Stephen Caple have been the primary goaltenders. Torf is 2-3-1 with a 3.00 gaa and a .902 save percentage. Caple is 2-2 with a 3.33 gaa and an .879 save percentage.
Lake Superior State:Domenic Monardo leads the Lakers with seven goals and seven assists. Rick Schofield, who has 81 career points, ranks second with four goals and 12 assists. Goaltending has been split between Kevin Kapala and Brian Mahoney-Wilson, a San Jose Sharks draft choice. Kapala is 4-3-1 with a 2.58 gaa and a .912 save percentage. Mahoney-Wilson is 1-4-1 with a 4.04 gaa and an .877 save percentage.
Special Teams Outlook
Clarkson:Clarkson's power play has continued to struggle, going just 3 for 48 this season (6.2 percent), and all three goals came in the same game. The penalty kill, as mentioned above, is at 89.9 percent. Clarkson has scored two shorthanded goals and allowed none.
Air Force:The Falcons have converted on 21.7 percent of their power plays, but have a kill rate of just 75 percent. They have scored two shorthanded goals and allowed two. Stephen Carew leads the team with four power-play goals and Scott Mathis has two.
Lake Superior State:The Lakers have scored on 15.6 percent of their power plays, but have killed just 81.8 percent of their penalties. The team has also allowed three shorthanded goals, while scoring none. Domenic Monardo is the leading power-play threat, with three goals, and Matt Cowie has two.
History:Air Force has only played Clarkson once, and lost the game. Lake Superior State is 6-5 lifetime against the Golden Knights.
Stats and Notes:Three has been a magic number for Clarkson this season. If the Golden Knights get at least three goals in a game they are 5-0-2. When they score two or less they are 1-4. ... This will be Clarkson's first matchup against Air Force since Dec. 29, 1982, when the teams met in the Syracuse Invitational Tournament. ... This weekend starts a stretch of five straight games away from Cheel Arena for Clarkson. The next home contests will be on Jan. 3-4 against Minnesota-Duluth.