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Saints taste defeat again vs. Golden Knights


POTSDAM — The St. Lawrence University hockey team has experienced this before and all too often against its archrival — another blown opportunity to finally break through with a long-sought after triumph over Clarkson.

This doesn’t make it any easier for the Saints, who squandered another lead and another potential win against the Golden Knights, this time a 5-4 setback on Friday night at Cheel Arena.

The end result down right hurt for this St. Lawrence squad.

Tenth-ranked Clarkson (11-3-1, 5-2-0), which extended its unbeaten streak against the Saints in league play to seven games (6-0-1), improved to 8-1-1 against St. Lawrence (8-7-2, 2-3-2) in the past 10 meetings.

“It hurts a lot, it’s terrible,” Saints senior defenseman Justin Baker said. “It’s something you get pumped up for all week long and something you look forward to all year long..”

But it was the way in which they let another one slip away against the Golden Knights that was disconcerting.

“It’s very frustrating, especially myself as a senior,” Saints senior captain Kyle Essery said. “It seems that we always get up somehow and then we give up the lead, especially against Clarkson.”

Emotions boiled over in the final minute with several scrums, with St. Lawrence’s Greg Carey being assessed a five-minute major penalty for charging.

After the final horn, the referees conferred and waved off the postgame handshake between the two teams and St. Lawrence players were sent off the ice the ice first.

“That’s hockey, it’s high intensity,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “Our guys all claim that the puck was sitting in the crease and one of their guys put his hand on it ... it should have been reviewable.”

For the second consecutive game, both at Clarkson, the Saints carried a lead, this time 3-2, into the third period only to watch things go awry. St. Lawrence let a 3-0 lead evaporate into a 3-3 tie in Potsdam in last season’s previous meeting.

On Friday, the Saints’ nationally top-ranked power play continued to click by scoring on three occasions. However, St. Lawrence, which has struggled with its penalty killing this season, allowed two power-play goals, including Jeff DiNallo’s go-ahead tally with 9:03 left in regulation.

“With our special teams, our power play has been very good,” Carvel said. “But the penalty kill has been very bad, and we’ve got to find a way to stay out of the box.”

Troy Josephs followed with the game-winner just 23 seconds later, completing Clarkson’s three-goal surge within nearly 5 1/2 minutes.

“It’s not just them, but it just sucks even more when we lose to them,” Baker said. “We had a game plan and were executing it properly and clearly we were out playing them. It’s just our play away from the puck is continuously letting us down.”

Entering as the nation’s fourth-best offense, the Saints’ defense, by contrast, continues to be a major issue. They’ve allowed five goals in each of their past three league games, all losses.

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