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Clarkson defeats Colorado College for first time

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POTSDAM — Right from the opening faceoff, the Clarkson University men’s hockey team came out hustling and trying to force the agenda and the result was the program’s first win against Colorado College.

The Golden Knights defeated Colorado College, 2-1, before 2,193 fans in a nonconference game at Cheel Arena Friday night. Entering this weekend, Clarkson had been 0-11-3 in its history against the Tigers — a series that dates back to the 1957 NCAA semifinals.

“We have too, at home,” Clarkson captain Ben Sexton said of the tone that the Golden Knights set. “At the end of the day we have to be good at home and get Cheel rocking.”

Sexton did his best to get the fans roaring early, nearly scoring 53 seconds in when one of his shots rang off the goalpost.

Sexton, who had another shot hit a post later in the period, “It’s a little frustrating. I thought our line was clicking and I thought we created a lot. They are bound to go in sometime.”

Instead of celebrating on Sexton’s near goal early, Clarkson fans had to wait 12 more minutes before they could cheer the first goal of the game, which came partly as a result of the intensity of Sexton’s line with Jarrett Burton and T.J. Moor working hard, causing the Tigers to opt for a line change.

But while Colorado College was making that change, Clarkson’s Joe Zarbo won a fight for the puck along the wall and sent it to Allan McPherson for a two-on-one breakaway with Patrick Megannety.

McPherson took a shot that went off the leg pads of Tigers goalie Josh Thorimbert and right to Megannety on the other side of the crease. Megannety knocked it into the net to give Clarkson a 1-0 lead at 12 minutes, 7 seconds of the opening period.

“You drive the net hard and you get rewarded for it,” McPherson said. “We knew they were a good skating team so we wanted to match that and play physical and we created good offensive chances off that. We were working hard, being physical, and being above them all night.”

Clarkson outshot the Tigers 11-6 in the first period and was controlling play for most of the second period when it met some adversity.

Colorado College scored at 12:20 of the second period to tie the game when freshman Zach Aman, who was skating in his first game, took a shot that deflected, went in the air and got past Clarkson goalie Greg Lewis to tie the score 1-1.

But after blowing a lead, Clarkson did not panic and went back to playing the same style that had seen it controlling play to that point.

“We’re learning to just stick to the process and be confident that things will take care of themselves over time,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said.

Clarkson got another chance after the score was tied when Colorado College’s Eamonn McDermont was called for holding at 14:12 of the second.

As the power play was waning, McPherson put a shot past Thorimbert to give the Golden Knights the lead for good at 16:07.

“That was huge,” McPherson said. “We’ve been able to do that all year, maybe it’s our mentality to rebound after (opponents) score.”

The Golden Knights had a 22-12 edge in shots after two periods and withstood a surge by Colorado College in the third period. The Knights showed lessons that they had learned from blowing a 3-1 lead in the final period last Saturday at home against the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“We have them a couple more shots than we should have, but we did well keeping them to the outside and not allowing (close chances),” Clarkson defenseman Kevin Tansey said. “A good team can close out. We wanted to make sure we didn’t make the same mistake.”

The Tigers will try to build on the momentum of the final minutes as they go for a split at 7 tonight.

“I think we have to play a little bit harder and be a little bit harder to play against,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “I thought down the stretch we were, but it was too little, too late.”

nNOTES: Clarkson has scored a power-play goal in every game but one this season. ... The Golden Knights entered Friday having won 58.7 percent of faceoffs and went 34-29 against Colorado College. Ben Sexton was 15-5, improving to 85-40 this season. ... Clarkson is allowing only 1.71 goals-per game, which ranks third nationally behind Notre Dame and Denver among teams that have played more than one game.

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