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Perry comes on in relief for Knights

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CANTON — Steve Perry will remember his second appearance in an ECAC Hockey game much more than his first.

Perry, a freshman goalie from Ligonier, Pa., appeared in relief of starter Greg Lewis on Saturday night at Appleton Arena and helped lead the Clarkson University men’s hockey team to a 4-3 win over rival St. Lawrence University, before 2,801 fans.

Clarkson (12-3-1 overall, 6-2-0 ECAC Hockey) was losing 3-2 after the first period, so Golden Knights coach Casey Jones decided to stick Perry into the game before the second period began.

It was Perry’s first appearance in a game since he struggled in a 6-3 loss at Yale on Nov. 2, in Clarkson’s second conference game. Beforehand, Lewis and Perry had alternated starts, but, from that game on, Lewis had started every regular-season game for Clarkson.

Perry held the Saints (8-8-2, 2-4-2) scoreless for the final 40 minutes, making 14 saves, including 10 in the second period.

“It’s definitely a different preparation,” Perry said of coming into a game already in progress.

“I just thought I had to give my team a chance to win the game,” Perry added. “I tried to relax and be confident in there and not show the boys I was nervous.

“For the first little bit I really couldn’t get anything, because the puck was down at the other end. I was just really focused on staying invested in the game. I knew whenever I got my chance I had to make the most of it.”

Not only did Perry enter a game his team was trailing, he also entered a game against a Saints team that has the fourth-best offense in the nation and a power play that ranks first.

“It all comes down to how we played entering the second period,” Perry said. “I thought the guys played excellent in front of me.

“All the (defensemen) and forwards were stepping up during (power plays),” Perry added. “The guys did a great job blocking shots for me when I couldn’t see anything. It’s always great to get in (a game), and against our rivals too. It should give me a little bit of confidence going into final (exams).”

Clarkson struggled in the first period, giving up three goals to SLU on just 11 shots, including two goals in the first two minutes of the game, to fall into an early 2-0 hole.

“I thought Steve came in and held down the fort for us,” Jones said. “We worked hard and blocked shots when we needed too. He’s been dying to get back in the nets since our game at Yale. That’s really the only bad outing he’s had since he’s arrived here at Clarkson. I wanted to do that after the period. For them to get that late one was unfortunate. He’s calm. That’s one of the traits we liked about him when we recruited him. He did a good job in the second and third period.”

LONG WAIT FOR SEXTON

Clarkson captain Ben Sexton got to play his first game in Appleton Arena Saturday night.

During his first three seasons Sexton had injury problems and it always worked out where he was wearing a suit and tie and watching Clarkson/SLU games in Canton from the stands.

He made the most of his opportunity, scoring a goal in the first period to tie the game 2-2. It was the same building where his father, Randy, played for SLU from 1978-82.

“These games are the most fun ones to play,” Sexton said. “I grew up a St. Lawrence fan. I always wanted to be a Skating Saint and things changed. I’m just happy to get that win tonight.”

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