POTSDAM — The Clarkson University men’s hockey team didn’t get a first-round bye Saturday night, but they earned plenty of confidence heading into next weekend’s ECAC Hockey playoffs.
Clarkson (18-14-4 overall, 11-9-2 ECAC Hockey) tied defending regular-season champion Quinnipiac 1-1 before 2,795 fans at Cheel Arena and finished in fifth place in the conference playoffs after being picked to finish last before the season began by the league’s coaches and media.
The Golden Knights will host Princeton next weekend in a best-of-three series and if they win that series the following weekend they’ll travel to fourth-place Cornell for a best-of-three quarterfinal series.
Quinnipiac (22-8-6, 12-6-4), which played in the national championship game last season, scored eight goals Friday night in a win at St. Lawrence University and entered Saturday’s game ranked second in the nation in offense at 3.63 goals-per game.
Clarkson's Jarrett Burton
But Clarkson, which lost 6-3 at Quinnipiac on Feb. 7, was not intimidated by the Bobcats and had a quiet confidence during the week that they could play with and beat Quinnipiac.
The Golden Knights nearly did, holding Quinnipiac scoreless until 18 minutes, 20 seconds of the second period, when Connor Jones scored a power-play goal to tie the game 1-1.
It was the longest Quinnipiac had gone this season before picking up its first goal in a game and it would be all the Bobcats would get.
Clarkson struck first at 14:20 of the opening period with a goal from Patrick Megannety which was assisted by Joe Zarbo.
The Golden Knights thought they had scored a go-ahead goal early in the third period while on a power play as a shot by Kevin Tansey looked as if it may have gone in. The student section sitting behind Quinnipiac’s net reacted as if it was a goal and Cheel Arena’s train whistle blew, but neither referee signaled for a goal.
Even though Clarkson, and every ECAC Hockey arena has an instant-replay system for possible goals, official Kevin Graber declined to go review the play.
Clarkson coach Casey Jones
The Golden Knights outshot Quinnipiac 4-1 in the third period but couldn’t get a shot past Bobcats goalie Michael Garteig.
Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold
Quinnipiac had a chance to win the game in overtime when Clarkson’s Paul Geiger was called for tripping just 88 seconds in, but the Bobcats were thwarted by Steve Perry, who made several big saves, including one where he swatted the puck away with his glove.
Perry OT save
Clarkson’s last chance to win came late as Quinnipiac’s Bryce Van Brabant was called for interference with 38 seconds remaining, but the Golden Knights were unable to get a game-winning goal.