POTSDAM, NY -- Behind a strong specialty-teams effort, timely scoring and a solid night in goal from junior Jake Kielly (Eden Prairie, MN), Clarkson University earned two key points in its battle to secure a top four spot in the ECAC Hockey standings by defeating Harvard 5-3 at Cheel Arena on Saturday night.
With four games reaming in the regular season, the Golden Knights are tied with Harvard for fourth place in the conference with an 11-7 ECAC Hockey record. Clarkson, which travels to Princeton and Quinnipiac next weekend, is one point behind third-place Yale, two in back of Quinnipiac in second and three points shy of league-leader Cornell. The Green and Gold are three points ahead of Brown and Dartmouth in the sixth spot. ECAC Standings (through Feb. 16)
Ranked 10/11th in the national polls entering the weekend, Clarkson has reached the 20-win mark for the second consecutive season with a 20-10 overall record.
Harvard (14-8-3, 10-6-2) outshot Clarkson 33-26, but Kielly turned aside 30 Crimson attempts, including all nine power-play shots by the visitors, to pick up his 58th career win.
The Knights went 1-of-2 with the man-advantage and shut down Harvard's nation-leading power play with five successful penalty kills.
After losing to Dartmouth 1-0 on Friday, the Knights found themselves in the early hole against Harvard. The Crimson opened the scoring just 39 seconds in, connecting off a faceoff win on a shot by Reilly Walsh that found its way through a screen in front.
Clarkson wasted little time in coming back when senior Juho Jokiharju (Tampere, Finland), back in the lineup for the first time in six games, intercepted a Crimson pass deep in their end and fired in a shot from the left circle at 2:13 for his second goal of the season.
Harvard, however, took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission when Frederic Gregoire deflected in a shot from the point at 7:14.
The Knights' offense clicked in the middle frame as the Green and Gold outscored the visitors 3-1 in the period to take a 4-3 lead through 40 minutes. Both teams hade 11 shots in the stanza.
Seventy-five seconds into the period freshman Josh Dunne (O'Fallon, MO) poked in a pass from junior Nico Sturm(Augsburg, Germany) through the five-hole of Crimson goaltender Michael Lackey to tie the game on the power play. Senior defenseman Aaron Thow (Toronto, ONT) also assisted.
Clarkson took its first at 13:47. Thow sent a perfect centering pass on to the stick of junior Devin Brosseau (St. Lambert, QUE) at the doorstep, where the co-captain tapped in his ninth goal of the season. Sophomore Jack Jacome (Caledon, ONT) picked up the second assist.
Harvard got a break on its third goal when pass by Michael Floodstrand bounced off a Clarkson player in the slot, up, and over Kielly at 14:11.
With 5:16 remaining in the period, Sturm was hook as he skated down the slot and crashed into Lackey, and both players crumpled in the net. After a short delayed Sturm skated away, but the Harvard goaltender was help off the ice and missed the remainder of the game.
Egle put the Knights in front late in the period, blasting in a one-timer from the left circle off a perfect feed by Sturm with 52 seconds left in the stanza for her team-leading 15th goal of the season. Sophomore defenseman Connor McCarthy(LaSalle, QUE) started the play with a block shot in the Clarkson end.
Harvard pulled goaltender Cameron Gornet for the extra attacker with 1:27 remaining in a bid to tie game, but an errant pass by the Crimson was mishandled at the blueline and found its way into the visitors empty net for Clarkson's fifth goal. Dunne was credited with his second goal of the night and 11th of his rookie campaign when he was the last Knight to touch the puck.