POTSDAM - With the return to ECAC Hockey play the Clarkson University mens hockey team will look to regain the form it displayed in the 2013 portion of the schedule when it enter the break as one of the hottest teams in the country with five wins in six games.
Guided by third-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy 00 and Andy Jones, the Golden Knights open the 2014 portion of the conference campaign when they host defending national champion Yale on Friday and Brown on Saturday. Both games are 7 p.m. starts at Cheel Arena.
Clarkson, led by senior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT), owns a 13-7-2 overall record and stands in third place in the ECAC Hockey standings with a 6-2 league mark. Ranked 14th in the national polls, the Green and Gold have 14 games remaining in the regular season, all league contests.
This past weekend in their first games in Potsdam since early December the Knights closed out a six-game stretch against Hockey East competition with a 3-2 win over Merrimack on Friday and a 4-0 loss to the Warriors on Saturday.
In Fridays victory, Clarkson overcame a sluggish effort to gain its 10th one-goal victory of the year. The Knights were outshot 22-19, but freshman Ville Runola (Raisio, Finland) made 20 saves to record the victory in his first NCAA appearance. Sophomore Jeff DiNallo (Aurora, ONT) broke a 2-2 tie with the game-winner midway through the third period. Senior Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT) and sophomore defenseman Paul Geiger (Stouffville, ONT) scored 24 seconds apart late in the first period to give the Green and Gold a 2-0 lead.
Clarkson suffered its first home shutout loss in over a year when Merrimack blanked the Knights on Saturday. Clarkson outshot the visitors 34-24, but could not overcome undisciplined play and a lethargic outing in specialty teams play. The Knights were 0-8 on the power play and allowed Merrimack to score twice in six man-advantage opportunities.
2013 NCAA Champion, Yale has shown little letdown since skating away with the Frozen Four trophy in Pittsburgh last March. Guided by eighth-year head coach Keith Allain, the Bulldogs are ranked eighth in the national polls with an 8-3-4 overall record. Yale is tied for sixth place in the ECAC Hockey standings with a 3-2-3 league slate, three points behind the Knights. The Bulldogs are unbeaten in their last four games (2-0-2) capped off by this past Saturdays 5-1 victory over Ivy League rival Harvard at Madison Square Garden. Yale, which defeated Clarkson 6-3 in New Haven, CT on November 2, is 4-2-2 in games away from Ingalls Rink this season. Yales last loss was a 4-1 defeat at home to Dartmouth on December 6.
Clarkson leads the all-time series against Yale, which began in 1929-30, 70-37-4. The Bulldogs have picked up their series play recently, going 7-3 in the last 10 meetings against the Knights. Yale won the first meeting this season 6-3 in New Haven, CT. Last season, the teams split with each winning on the others home ice. Clarkson shut out Yale at Ingalls Rink in its ECAC opener on November 9. The Bulldogs returned the favor with a 3-1 victory at Cheel on January 12. Clarkson owns a 17-7 mark over Yale at Cheel Arena. The Knights last win at home in the series was a 5-4 overtime victory on January 15, 2012 when Sam Labrecque tallied the winner on the power play with 61 seconds left in the extra session.
Labrecque has scored two goals and two assists in four games against Yale. Ben Sexton has three points in the rivalry with one goal and three assists. Jarrett Burton has two goals in the series, including the game-winner in the 1-0 win at Ingalls Rink in November, 2012. Greg Lewiss first career win was a shutout over Yale at Ingalls Rink on November 9, 2012. Through two games against the Bulldogs he posts a .964 save percentage and a 1.00 GAA en route to a 1-1 record. Steve Perry took the loss in the first game this season, making 32 saves on 37 shots.
Brown enters the North Country playing its best hockey of the season. The Bears, who face off at St. Lawrence on Friday night, are unbeaten in their last five games (3-0-2). Guided by fifth-year head coach Brendan Whittet, Brown owns a 6-6-3 overall record and is tied for ninth in the conference standings, five points behind the Knights with a 3-4-1 ECAC Hockey mark. In their only action last weekend, the Bears tied fourth-ranked Boston College 3-3 at Meehan Auditorium. Brown opened the New Year with a 3-3 tie at Denver and a 4-2 win at Colorado College. In its last ECAC Hockey action, the Bears defeated Harvard (2-1) and Dartmouth (3-2) at home in a pair of one-goal games on December 6-7. Brown, 2-5-1 on opponents home ice, last lost on November 30 with a 3-2 setback at Providence.
Clarkson leads Brown in their all-time series, which began in 1953, by a commanding 59-18-8 margin. The Knights snapped a three-game losing skid to the Bears with a 4-3 victory in Providence on November 1 in the ECAC Hockey opener for both teams. Over the last 10 meetings, the series is tied 4-4-2 with Brown holding a 3-1-1 advantage in the past five meetings.
Clarkson gained one of a possible four points during the 2012-13 regular season. The teams battled to a 3-3 tie in Providence on November 10, and the Bears won 3-2 in Potsdam on January 11. Brown swept the Green and Gold in the first round of the 2013 ECAC playoffs at Meehan Auditorium on March 8-9, winning 3-0 and 4-3. Clarkson is 18-5-4 all-time against the Bears at Cheel.
Ben Sexton has a team-high eight points in the series on one goal and seven assists through six games. Allan McPherson has scored three goals and four assists for seven points, while Will Frederick has also tallied three times and added two assists in the series. Jarrett Burton has also tallied three goals against Brown. Greg Lewis posts a .895 save percentage and a 3.44 goals against average through 262 minutes of action against the Bears.
KNIGHT KNOTES: Clarkson finished the non-league portion of the schedule with a 7-5-2 mark against teams from Atlantic Hockey (4-0-1), National Collegiate Hockey Conference (2-0) and Hockey East (1-5-1) The Knights final 14 regular season games are all ECAC Hockey contest with eight at Cheel Arena Clarkson is 6-2-1 at home and 6-3-1 in away games Making his NCAA debut on Friday, Ville Runola was solid in the one-goal victory against Merrimack with a 20-save effort (8-9-3) in the 3-2 win. Runolas first collegiate game was in the 6-2 exhibition win over Queens on December 1 when he made 15 stops The Knights, who are 10-3-2 in one-goal games, have only outscored their opponents 57-54. Clarkson holds the edge in the first period (23-18), is tied in the second (17-17) and trails in the third period (16-19) Clarkson is 1-0-2 in overtime Clarkson is 9-2-1 when scoring first and 8-1-1 when leading after the opening period The Knights 4-0 loss at Cheel on Saturday to Merrimack was its first shutout loss since an ECAC Hockey playoff game on March 8 last year at Brown (3-0) and first whitewash at home since October 26, 2012 vs Niagara (2-0) Jeff DiNallo is tied for the Clarkson goal-scoring lead with seven, including five in his last nine games, and has 13 points through 20 games as the Knights third-leading scorer. He tallied two goals and two assists in 16 games as a freshman last year. DiNallo scored the game-winner and added an assist in the 3-2 victory over Merrimack on Friday Paul Geiger leads the Clarkson defensemen in scoring with 11 points on three goals and eight assists Sophomore Kevin Tansey (Hammond, ONT) tallied two assists in the win over the Warriors and has 10 points (1-9) playing in all 22 games after missing all of last season recovering from off-season injuries Clarksons leading playmaker, Ben Sexton has a team-high 13 assists and 18 points to go along with a team-high +7 plus/minus rating Jarrett Burton is second on the Knights in goals with six after scoring Clarksons first goal against Merrimack on Friday Senior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) leads all current Knights in career scoring with 87 points on 35 goals and 52 assists through 130 games. He is second on the team in points this season with 16, including seven goals.