Lake Placid, NY – Junior Devin Brosseau stole the puck near center ice, circled around the back of the net and tossed a pass through the crease to Chris Klack and the freshman delivered at 14:36 in overtime to give the Clarkson University Men's Hockey team its sixth ECAC Championship with a 3-2 win over Cornell University at the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.
The Golden Knights, ranked ninth in the latest USCHO.com poll, improved to 26-10-2 on the season and will now await their seeding and regional placement. The 16-team field will be revealed on ESPNU at 7:00 pm on Sunday evening. Cornell fell to 20-10-4 and will be awaiting its potential at-large bid as well.
The Green and Gold hoisted the Whitelaw Cup for the first time since 2007, pleasing most of the 5713 fans in attendance.
The overtime saw numerous chances for both teams, with Cornell causing Jake Kielly to make a sprawling save three minutes into the extra session. A few minutes later the Knights' defense would be busy on the penalty kill when Marly Quince was whistled for interference, but for the first minute it was Clarkson that had the better chances with a pair of short-handed rushes at the Cornell end. The Big Red did start to put pressure on Clarkson at the tail end of the power play, but the Knights survived it to play on.
For the next six or eight minutes, most of the best scoring chances, as was the case in the majority of the game, didn't end up on net, with hard slap shots flying wide. A mishap with the Cornell goal forced the Big Red into a goalie change, as the net never totally came off its moorings but did seem to somewhat incapacitate starting goaltender Matthew Galajda. Austin McGrath was called upon for relief and played the final 3:47 of the game, though it is unlikely that Galajda would have stopped Klack's game-winning shot from point-blank range.
The game opened without much in the way of scoring chances as the teams seemed to be feeling one another out in the early going, but it didn't take long to change. Cornell got on the scoreboard first quickly changing a rush by Clarkson into a two-on-one the other way. Clarkson's Jack Jacome got collared near the blue line in the Cornell end and the Big Red transitioned the other way with Yanni Kaldis sending the puck forward for the odd-man rush. Noah Bauld finished off the give-and-go with Brenden Locke at 7:29 to put the Big Red up 1-0.
Clarkson responded with two power-play goals in the second half of the period to gain the lead before the first intermission. Alec McCrea was whistled for hooking when he took Brosseau down behind the net. Brosseau remained on the ice and ended up as the player to make Cornell pay for the infraction, taking a wrist shot about one step inside the right circle and beating Galajda at 12:26, with assists going to Josh Dunne and Aaron Thow. Less than four minutes later Jeff Malott collided with Nico Sturm, sending both players down to the ice, and Malott was called for interference. After the first power play took 1:29 for the Knights to convert, Clarkson cut that margin in half, tallying at the 16:45 mark, only 39 seconds into the man-advantage chance when Brosseau finished off a pass from Connor McCarthy at the bottom of the right circle. Dunne again earned an assist.
Things got quiet on offense, at least for the scoreboard operator, for the next 30-plus minutes. Each team had a prolonged offensive possession in the second period without finishing off the play. The Knights spent the first few minutes of the middle stanza with the puck in the Cornell end, gaining several scoring chances but no goals. For the Big Red it was the last two minutes of the period as the Big Red tested Kielly numerous times, but the junior denied all shots, even when he was knocked off his skates and was down on the ice.
Clarkson enjoyed another extended offensive possession in the third period, first keeping it in the Cornell end for nearly the entirety of a power play, but then adding another 70 seconds of puck possession, keeping the Big Red defense on the ice. However, Clarkson could not come through in that time, keeping Cornell in the contest.
The Big Red's pressure finally came through near the end of the period, though it wasn't a typical goal in the sense that the Big Red's skill was on display. Matt Nuttle took a shot from the top of the right circle and Tristan Mullin made sure to provide some interference and a change of eye level for the shot as Nuttle's low shot was deflected off Mullin's stick up and over Kielly's glove and shoulder at 14:19. Momentum appeared on the side of the Big Red for the stretch run and overtime, but Brosseau's head's up play and Klack's placement on the doorstep gave Clarkson the win.
Brosseau, named the Most Outstanding Player of the ECAC Championships, had a hand in all three goals, scoring twice and assisting on the game-winner. Nico Sturm and and Kielly joined Brosseau on the ECAC All-Tournament team.
Kielly stopped 29 shots for the Knights, while Galajda made 23 saves in 70:49 for the Big Red. McGrath added one save in less than four minutes of play. Cornell ended with a 31-27 edge in shots. The Knights went 2-for-5 on the power play and Cornell was scoreless in its two chances.