HAMDEN, Conn. -- Behind a four-goal second-period showing and with scores by three freshmen Clarkson University picked up two big points in ECAC Hockey play by knocking off fifth-ranked Quinnipiac 5-3 at Frank Perrotti Jr. Arena in Hamden, CT on Saturday night.
Clarkson, which skated to a 1-1 tie against Princeton in New Jersey on Friday night, improves to 12-7-1 in ECAC Hockey play. With two games left on the league slate, the Golden Knights stand in fourth place in the 12-team conference, one point behind Harvard and Quinnipiac in second place and just two points shy of first-place Cornell. The Green and Gold are two points ahead of fifth place Yale.
Ranked 12/13th in the national polls entering the weekend, Clarkson owns a 21-10-1 overall record. The Knights' bid for a top-four spot in ECAC Hockey and a first-round bye in the upcoming league playoffs that comes with it will be decided next weekend as the Green and Gold host Colgate and Cornell at Cheel Arena as part of the University's COGO Weekend to close out the regular season.
Freshman Anthony Callin paced the offensive effort against Quinnipiac (23-7-2, 12-6-2) with his first career two-goal game. Classmates, defenseman Michael Underwood (Bloomfield Hills, MI) and forward Chris Klack (Georgetown, ONT) and junior right wing Haralds Egle (Liepaja, Latvia) scored one goal apiece to help spoil the Bobcats' Senior Night. Junior co-captain Nico Sturm (Augsburg, Germany) tallied two assists to increase his team-high point total to 39 points, including 27 assists. Sturm is just three points shy of the century mark with 34 goals and 63 assists through 111 career games.
Clarkson outshot Quinnipiac 33-27, including an 18-7 advantage in the second period. Junior Jake Kielly (Eden Prairie, MN) posted 24 saves to record his 59th career victory.
The Knights shut down the Bobcats' highly rated power play, which came into the weekend ranked third in the nation. Clarkson killed off all three of Quinnipiac's man-advantages, including a full five-minute power play by the home team late in the second period. Clarkson was 0-of-2 on the power play.
After even play for the opening five minutes, Quinnipiac looked to score first as the Knights were whistled for two consecutive penalties, putting the Bobcats on a two-man advantage for 84 seconds.
Clarkson was able to kill that off and then got a power play of its' own at 8:50. The Green and Gold held the puck in the offensive zone and generated some good looks at the net including a one-time by sophomore defenseman Connor McCarthy (LaSalle, QUE) that Quinnipiac goaltender Andrew Shortridge made his best stop of the period on.
From that penalty kill, Quinnipiac seized the momentum which led to the game's opening score at 16:34 when Alex Whelan deflected home a point shot past Kielly. The Bobcats ended the opening stanza on an 8-1 shot run and outshot Clarkson 11-5 at the first intermission.
There was no lack of action in the middle period.
Callin got the scoring started as he intercepted a pass at the Quinnipiac blue line. His first shot was stopped, but not the rebound. The goal at 1:54 was Callin's fourth of the campaign. At 2:39, Underwood took a pass from Egle and hammered a one-timer under the blocker of Shortridge and just inside the post to put Clarkson up 2-1.
Bobcats' all-star defenseman Chase Priskie did his Bobby Orr impersonation at 5:02 taking a handoff from Shortridge, going through the entire Golden Knight defense and putting a shot past Kielly to tie the game at two.
The contest stayed that way until a furious rally by the Green and Gold culminated in Klack's fourth goal of the season. Freshman Adam Tisdale (Cochrane, ALB) worked the puck into the left wing corner for himself then feathered a pass to classmate Nick Campoli (Toronto, ONT) in behind the net for a short feed to Klack for the goal at 12:15.
It was then time for the penalty killing unit to go back to work when the Knights took a major for interference. Quinnipiac was able to get a couple of good looks, but nothing past Kielly or the penalty killers.
Then Clarkson connected again.
After a quick poke check at the Clarkson blue line by Underwood, junior defenseman Greg Moro (Edmonton, ALB) sent a snap pass up the right wing for Egle who was all alone behind the Bobcat defense. Egle faked a slap shot from the circle, opened up Shortridge and slid the puck through the Bobcats goalie's legs for his team-high 16th goal of the season to send Clarkson to the break, up 4-2
Callin was not done with his contributions. At 1:34 of the final frame, Callin collected a puck and whipped a wrist shot just under the crossbar to give Clarkson a 5-2 advantage. Senior Marly Quince (Sioux Lookout, ONT) and junior defenseman Shane Kuzmeski (Grayslake, Illinois) assisted.
Just five minutes later, Priskie scored his second of the night when his right point shot beat a screened Kielly.
That would be the final goal, however and Clarkson would skate off to its ninth consecutive Saturday- night victory.