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College hockey: McPherson delivers for Clarkson

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POTSDAM — In the late stages of games, Clarkson never has to fear because Allan McPherson is there.

For a second straight outing, McPherson scored a late game-winning goal, this time with 37.3 seconds left in the third period to give the 11th-ranked Golden Knights a 3-2 victory over Cornell before 2,923 in an ECAC Hockey game Friday at Cheel Arena.

There were two minutes left in the game last Saturday when McPherson’s goal gave Clarkson a 2-1 win over Harvard.

“Both times guys made great plays,” McPherson said. “In the last game (James de Haas) was throwing the puck on the net and I got a stick on it. Tonight, Jeff DiNallo put it out front and I got two whacks at it and the second one went in. Guys around me are just making plays and I’m putting them in.”

Just like last Friday, in a 3-2 win at Dartmouth, Clarkson had a two-goal lead, then saw it vanish before rallying to produce a win.

“It’s a big win, we responded well in the third period,” said Pat Megannety, who assisted on Clarkson’s first two goals. “We’ve been showing that a lot lately. Any time you can come back strong like that, after a tough third period, that’s big for us. A lot of people have been saying we’ve been showing a lot of confidence in late game situations. We’re always ready to respond and make a big play.”

Clarkson (10-2-1 overall, 4-1 ECAC Hockey) started the game strong and scored the first goal just 45 seconds into the game.

Ben Sexton, who scored the game-winner last Friday, scored on a rebound of a shot by Megannety to give the Golden Knights the early lead.

“(Cornell goalie Andy Iles) is a good goalie and he always makes that first save, so we know we have to crash the net,” Sexton said. “We know there was going to be loose pucks if we got it in his pads and we got a couple goals off that tonight. It definitely gets the fans into it early on. You get the hometown crowd onto your side and it gains momentum.”

Clarkson dominated the Big Red (3-3-1, 1-3-1) in the first period, holding Cornell to only two shots.

The Golden Knights extended the lead to 2-0 at 5 minutes, 9 seconds of the second period on McPherson’s first goal of the game. A shot from Megannety hit a skate and came to McPherson, who was in the circle, and he put the shot in before Iles had time to react.

“He’s a good goalie,” McPherson said. “We know we need second-chance opportunities because he’ll make that first save. But he’s pretty acrobatic with his second saves, so you have to get on the rebound quick and try to put it past him. I tried to shoot it quick, so he couldn’t really get set.”

Coming into Friday’s game Cornell has scored on 28.1 percent of their power plays and the Big Red, who struggled to get shots on goal the entire game, used the power play to get back into the contest.

Cornell cut the deficit to one goal with a power-play goal at 10:39 of the second period by John McCarron, and the Big Red tied the game 2-2 at 12:37 of the third period on a power-play goal from Brian Ferlin. Cornell finished 2-for-4 on the power play.

“It’s just one of those games where we persevered,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “We’ve responded to negative things that happen in games really well, so that shows some maturity as a team. I thought we stayed calm. We felt we were playing well and we stayed the course.”

Clarkson has answered almost every time it’s been in a tense situation late in games, improving to 7-0-1 this season in games decided by one goal or less.

“We’re giving ourselves a little bit of a heart attack on the bench,” Sexton said. “But we’re confident. I thought we controlled the game, for the most part, from start to finish. We’re getting more and more confident in these tight games, nobody is panicking on the bench.”

For Cornell, the loss extended an early-season winless streak to four games (0-3-1).

“I’m at a loss for words about what’s going on with our guys and their energy level and their intensity and their decision-making and their confidence,” Big Red coach Mike Schafer said. “There are a lot of issues we’ve got to look at with our team.”


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