POTSDAM The Clarkson University mens hockey team got off to a strong start and never gave a depleted Rensselaer squad a chance, earning a 3-0 win before 2,235 fans in an ECAC Hockey game at Cheel Arena Friday night.
RPI (10-11-4 overall, 4-6-3 conference) was missing four players after a brawl after a game against Union College last Saturday as well as coach Seth Appert, who was given a one-game suspension by ECAC Hockey. The missing players accounted for 35 percent of RPIs goal production this season.
Clarkson (16-9-2, 9-4) took advantage of its first power-play chance and took a 1-0 lead off a goal from senior Allan McPherson at 7 minutes, 33 seconds of the first period and kept control of the game from that point.
I thought the goal was important, but we wanted to just try to be physical on pucks and be relentless on them so we could wear them down from that perspective, Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. We were hounding them and finishing our checks. I thought our (defensemen) were extremely good tonight. They did a good job controlling the game. I thought our guys were in the moment for our process and what we do and I thought they executed pretty well. I thought we took advantage of the fact that we had a little more depth in the game and we were able to come at them in waves.
Said McPherson, It builds a little confidence in the power play. We were moving the puck around well tonight and we have some talented players out there. It was good to get that first one early. We knew they were missing some guys, but they are still a good team.
After outshooting RPI 9-7 in the first period Clarkson began to take control of the game in the second period, outshooting the Engineers 16-3 and scoring two more goals.
The first goal came at 2:48 from sophomore Todd Christian, who was playing in only his fifth game of the season. It was only the second career goal for Christian, who scored last year at Cheel Arena against Princeton.
It felt good to get rid of the goose egg, but it was just one of those things where youve got to make the most of your opportunities, Christian said. It hasnt been the easiest of years, but whenever I get the opportunity I have to try to capitalize. I wasnt really trying to pick corners, because it was hard to see the net, there was a lot of traffic, but I knew if I put it on net there was a chance and I was fortunate enough it went in.
Said Jones, (Christians goal) is outstanding and he had a big block in the third period, too, where we got a lot of motivation on the bench. Theres a lot of camaraderie. Hes well liked on the team. He works hard and hes on the ice early every day. They showed a lot of support from the bench, and thats good.
Clarksons third goal came at 15:45 of the second period after RPIs Craig Bokenfohr hit Will Frederick from behind and drew a major penalty and game misconduct. Clarkson defenseman Kevin Tansey was nearby and almost went after Bokenfohr, but saw the puck loose on the ice so instead skated up ice with it and wound up scoring a goal before RPI could touch the puck and start the penalty kill.
If the puck hadnt gotten loose I was probably going to step in there and talk to (Bokenfohr), Tansey said. The puck just squirted out and I looked up and saw we had an odd-man rush. (Jarrett Burton) made a beautiful pass, (Paul Geiger) drove the net and took their (defenseman) and I had a perfect shooting lane so I just closed my eyes and shot and it went in.
The Engineers were outshot 29-16 and wound up playing two players down after Bokenfohrs misconduct. RPI had dressed only 17 skaters because it had the four other players suspended for the game and teams can travel with only 21 skaters and two goalies.
I thought Clarkson played an outstanding game, they just outcompeted us all over the ice, RPI assistant coach Bryan Vines said. They were first to pucks and they just dominated us. I thought they played a great, great game and we just didnt respond. Clarkson played a great game at home.
Clarkson goalie Steve Perry finished with 16 saves to record his third shutout of the season in just 12 starts.