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Princeton takes series lead over Clarkson with OT win

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POTSDAM — An overtime goal by Princeton’s Andrew Ammon has put the Clarkson University men’s hockey team on the brink of another playoff disappointment.

Ammon scored on a slap shot from just inside the blue line at 10 minutes, 38 seconds of overtime Friday, giving the Tigers a 3-2 win over Clarkson before 1,837 fans in game one of a best-of-three ECAC Hockey first-round series.

“I was just trying to get it on net and it just kind of sailed,” Ammon said. “I didn’t even think it was straight in.”

The 12th-seeded Tigers (6-24 overall) can end the series with a win in game two at 7:30 p.m. tonight. If No. 5 Clarkson wins there will be a deciding game three at 7 p.m. Sunday.

“We have to win two games,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “Coming into the weekend I said it wasn’t going to be easy. They are a team that can generate some offense and they have some good players.”

Clarkson (18-15-4) has lost six straight postseason series, the longest current active streak in the conference.

“Things didn’t end the way we wanted tonight, but we’re confident in that locker room,” Clarkson captain Ben Sexton said. “It’s a three-game series for a reason. Our backs are up against the wall, but I think we’ll definitely respond well tomorrow.”

The Golden Knights beat Princeton twice during the regular season, including a 3-1 win at Cheel Arena on Feb. 28.

But Clarkson did not play one of its better games Friday, struggling in the first and third periods.

“We didn’t manage the puck as well as we could have,” Clarkson’s Pat Megannety said. “We’re going to come back stronger tomorrow.”

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead early in the game when Kyle Rankin finished off a two-on-one breakaway at 4 minutes, 19 seconds, scoring off a pass from Jonathan Liau. Friday’s game was only the second time this season the Tigers had a lead after the first period.

The Golden Knights, who scored three power-play goals against Princeton last Friday, got back into the game when the Tigers took four straight penalties in the second period.

Clarkson only scored on one of the power plays, when Will Frederick scored off a nice pass from Sexton to tie the game 1-1 at 3:34 of the second period. But the Golden Knights used the power plays to build some offensive momentum and take control of the game.

The Golden Knights outshot the Tigers 11-4 in the second period and took a 2-1 lead when Megannety redirected a pass from Alex Boak past Princeton goalie Colton Phinney with just nine seconds left in the period.

All the momentum Clarkson earned in the second period it gave away in the third when it became the team making all the visits to the penalty box.

The Golden Knights took three penalties in the third period and Princeton scored a power-play goal at 6:15 on a shot from Andrew Calof to tie the game 2-2. The Tigers outshot Clarkson 11-9 in the third period.

“Clearly it was the difference in the game,” Jones said of the penalties. “They got some momentum off it, especially with the goal there. They had us running around a little bit. I thought we generated enough chances to win the game, and just didn’t.”

Said Princeton captain Jack Berger, “I think we worked a lot on special teams this week and I think we executed that a lot better. We just wanted to be patient and play solid defense and capitalize on our chances.”

Clarkson had the better chances in overtime, outshooting the Tigers 10-5, but Ammon was the only one to take a shot that beat a goalie as his slap shot sailed over the glove of Golden Knights goalie Greg Lewis.

“That top line for us played real well with Ammon getting the winner,” said Princeton coach Bob Prier, a former St. Lawrence University player and assistant coach. “The regular season is history. It’s a new season with the playoffs. We worked on some different things. We tried to tighten up our gaps and things like that.”

SLU OUTLASTS BROWN

Freshman defenseman Eric Sweetman couldn’t have picked a better time for his second collegiate goal.

Sweetman, who last scored a goal in game four of the season at Ferris State, fired a shot from just inside the blue line which went over the shoulder of Brown University goalie Tyler Steel and under the crossbar 1:27 into the second overtime period to lift St. Lawrence University to a 3-2 victory in the first of their best-of-three ECAC Hockey playoff series at Appleton Arena.

Friday night.

Sweetman’s goal, his and first in 30 games, came after senior Jeremy Wick worked the puck away from a Brown defender and slid it back to the rookie blueliner who was about three strides inside the blue line. His shot ended the game after the Saints had spent the entire 1:27 in the Brown end.

It was a tough loss for Steel, who made 43 saves in the game and was brilliant in the first overtime with six of his 11 saves coming on a Saint power play.

The Saints, now 14-17-4, can end the series with a win on Saturday night, while Brown, 11-16-3, will try to extend it to a game three on Sunday night. The Saints and Bears are now even in the season series with a win each to go with a tie.

St. Lawrence dominated the game through regulation time, but Steel kept Brown in it and sophomore Nick Lappin tied the score with Steel pulled for an extra attacker with just under 55 seconds to go in regulation time.

Neither team scored in a tight-checking first period which saw both teams muster just 12 shots on goal between them. Saint captain Kyle Essery opened the scoring when he took a goal mouth pass from Alex Dahl and tucked the puck past Steel 4:41 into the second, and while Brown came back to tie on Zach Pryzbek’s third goal of the season in a scramble at 14:00, the Saints regained the lead on a five-on-three power play as senior wing Greg Carey scored his 16th of the year.

Carey, the ECAC regular-season scoring champion for the second straight year, took a pass from defenseman Justin Baker and one-timed the puck past Steel at 18:46 to give the Saints the lead. It stayed that way until Lappin, the son of SLU two-time All America and all-time scoring leader Pete Lappin, connected from just outside the crease with the extra attacker at 19:05 to make it a 2-2 game after regulation time.

Saint senior goalie Matt Weninger had his busiest period of the night in the first overtime as he made 13 of his

26 saves as both teams opened up the offense. Steel had 11 in the first overtime and three more to start the second before Sweetman ended it after 81:27 of play.





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