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Clarkson men’s hockey ties, faces Princeton in ECAC playoffs


POTSDAM — The Clarkson University men’s hockey team didn’t get a first-round bye Saturday night, but it 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 in the league’s preseason coaches and media polls.

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 title 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.

“We got off to a slow start when we played them (away),” Clarkson assistant captain Jarrett Burton said. “I thought we had a lot of energy. We just tried to keep going throughout the whole game there. I thought everyone worked hard tonight and that’s definitely a game we can build off of and try to get some momentum going into the playoffs here.”

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 the Golden Knights 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. It would be all the Bobcats would get.

“Last time we played them at home we scored early and just today they had a big night, it was senior night, they played hard and we just couldn’t match that the first couple periods,” Connor Jones said. “I thought we got stronger as the game went on. Our intensity just wasn’t there tonight.”

Clarkson struck first at 14:20 of the opening period with a goal from Patrick Megannety, assisted by Joe Zarbo.

“It was good work by (Burton) and Joe down low behind the net,” Megannety said. “I got a puck on net and it squirted out behind the net. I don’t know if it was Joe or Burtsy, but he made a nice play, and it squirted out to me and I just jammed it in.”

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.

“I got a good shot off, it’s just too bad the (whistle) went off because I think we all kind of just stopped and thought the goal went in,” Tansey said. “If that didn’t happen maybe someone would have buried (a rebound). That’s just the way it goes.”

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.

“I’m not sure how (reviews) work now,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “They are telling me I’ve got to use my challenge. I thought when it was really close they reviewed goals. I’m not sure. That’s the second game (in two weeks) where they wouldn’t review and wanted me to use a challenge. I didn’t even know when they put that in.”

The Golden Knights outshot Quinnipiac 4-1 in the third period, but couldn’t get a shot past Bobcats goalie Michael Garteig.

“I was disappointed with our effort,” Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold said. “I thought we were sloppy and had way too many turnovers. I thought we prepared poorly for the game and I thought (Garteig) stole a point for us tonight. I thought he was great and we didn’t deserve to get a tie.”

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.

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.

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