Clarkson

Clarkson Renews Postseason Rivalry With Cornell

With a convincing sweep of Rensselaer in the first round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs the Clarkson University Hockey team will advance to the conference quarterfinals for the second consecutive year and for the third time in the past four seasons. 

Guided by sixth-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy '00 and Josh Hauge, the Golden Knights are one step away from advancing to Lake Placid for the ECAC Hockey Championship Tournament in two weeks. The Knights, however, face a big hurdle in their bid to return to the league's showcase event for the first time since winning it all in 2007. Clarkson will will travel down to Central NY to take on the 9th-ranked Big Red of Cornell in the best-of-three game series at Lynah Rink in Ithaca.

Clarkson owns a 17-14-5 overall record. The Knights finished in sixth place in the league standings with a 10-9-3 ECAC Hockey mark. The Green and Gold, who are participating in their 55th season of ECAC Hockey postseason play, made the most of their final games at Cheel Arena for the season by skating past long-time rival RPI to open the playoffs. Clarkson equaled its season high for goals in Friday's 7-4 win and then clinched the series on Saturday by winning a specialty teams battle over the Engineers, 4-2.

• Cornell is Clarkson's oldest current rival and most familiar opponent in the ECAC Hockey playoffs. The Knights and Big Red have played 29 times in the league's postseason tournament with Cornell owning a 19-9-1 lead. Cornell holds a 10-7-1 advantage over the Green and Gold in the conference quarterfinal round games. The Big Red won the last postseason meeting, edging out the Green and Gold 1-0 in Game 3 of the 2014 quarterfinals to win the best-of-three series 2-1 at Lynah Rink. Clarkson's last playoff game victory over Cornell was a 4-1 win in Game 2 of that series, which was also the last time the Knights have won in Ithaca. The Knights' last postseason series triumph over Cornell was in 2004 when Clarkson came from behind to stun the Big Red, winning Games 2 (5-4) and Game 3 (5-1) after losing Game 1 (5-1) in the quarterfinal series at Lynah Rink. The Knights won their first of five ECAC Hockey Tournament titles by defeating the Big Red in 1966.
• Clarkson has been a force in the ECAC since the league was formed at the start of the 1961-62 season. The Knights have participated in 55 of the conference's first 56 postseason tournaments, winning five league championships (1966, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2007). Clarkson owns an 90-76-5 record in the conference playoffs, and is 51-24-4 in the quarterfinal round. Clarkson has a 6-6 postseason record as the sixth seed, including last wekend's results against Rensselaer.
After winning the 2007 ECAC Tournament title, Clarkson has been knocked out of the playoffs in its first postseason action in seven of the previous nine years. Last season, Clarkson defeated Princeton in a pair of overtine thrillers (3-2 2ot, 3-2 ot) in first-round series action at Cheel before being edged out by St. Lawrence (3-2ot, 3-2 2ot) in the quarterfinals in Canton. 
In 2015, the Knights lost its first-round series vs Rensselaer 2-1 (3-2, 0-5, 5-1) at Cheel.  Clarkson defeated Princeton in Potsdam 2-1 (2-3ot, 4-0, 3-2) in 2014. The Knights lost at Brown 2-0 (3-0, 4-3) in 2013, and also lost first-round series at Cheel to Rensselaer in 2012 (5-1, 3-4 3ot, 4-1) and Harvard in 2011 (2-1, 6-4). Clarkson lost at St. Lawrence in 2010 (3-2ot, 3-4ot, 3-2) and fell in Schenectady to Union (5-3, 7-2) in 2009. Colgate edged the Green and Gold in the 2008 quarterfinals at Cheel (0-1, 4-3, 3-2 2ot). 
The Knights have advanced to 31 league championship tournaments and have skated in 13 title games, winning its fifth in 2007 with a 4-2 victory over Quinnipiac in the championship game at the Times Union Center in Albany.
• The Knights have won three straight, one game shy of their longest win streak of the season.
• By sweeping RPI this past weekend the Knights have secured the 72nd winning season in the 95-year history of the program.
• Clarkson went unbeaten in its last five games (4-0-1) at Cheel Arena to finish with a .500 record on its home ice.
• Clarkson's power play is at its best right now, clicking at 57% over the last three games with eight man-advantage goals in 14 opportunities. The Knights have scored three power-play goals in both of their last two games. The last time Clarkson scored three goals in a game on the man-advantage was on October 24, 2015 in a win over Western Michigan.
Overall, the Knights are hitting at 20.4% (34-167), 34th in the NCAA.
• Junior Sam Vigneault paces the Clarkson offense with a team-high 36 points, including 24 assists, the most points by a Clarkson player over the past five years, and the most assists at Clarkson in the past nine seasons.  Vigneault has tallied 12  points (5-7) over the past eight games.  He shares the team lead in plus/minus at +12.  Vigneault leads all current Knights in career points with 75 (30-45) through 103 games. 
• Senior Troy Josephs has scored a team-high 19 goals (almost double his combined total of 10 through his first three years), the most at Clarkson since 2009-10. He is second in scoring with 32 points. Josephs continued his torrid scoring streak in the sweep of RPI with seven points (4-3) in the two-game playoff series. The Pittsburgh Penguins draft choice has scored two goals in each of the last three games and 10 points in that span. He
leads the Knights' in power-play tallies with seven, is tied for the team lead in game-winners with four and also has a plus/minus rating of +12.  Josephs has posted a plus-14 goals improvement over last year, tied for the sixth biggest goal increase in Division 1 this season.
• Senior defenseman, captain James de Haas leads the Green and Gold in scoring from the blueline with 28 points on seven goals and 21 assists in 34 games.  The Detroit Red Wings draft choice has at least one point in each of the last six games, including 10 (2-8) in the last three.   He posted six points over the weekend against RPI with three assists in Friday's win, and the game-winner and two assists in the Saturday's victory.
• Clarkson's defensemen have accounted for eight goals and 22 assists over the past eight games.
• Junior defenseman Kelly Summers scored a goal in his second straight game, in Friday's win. His first goal of the season came against Minnesota on October 28. Summers also set up two scores in the Game 2 win. He has 17 points (3-14) on the year.
• The Knights are averaging 3.22 Goals Per Game (tied for 16th in Division I), the best GPG average at Clarkson since the 2006-07 season (3.48 GPG).
• Clarkson has five wins against Top 20 teams this year with four coming on opponents' home ice. 
• Despite not having any players among the top 29 in the country for points per game by a freshman, Clarkson's Class of 2020 is one of the most productive groups in the country.   The Knights' freshmen lead ECAC Hockey rookies in scoring and are seventh overall in the NCAA, averaging 2.53 points per game.  The Knights' seven rookie skaters, and Kielly (one assist) have accounted for 31% of Clarkson's offense with 91 points on 34 goals and 57 assists. 
• Freshmen Sheldon Rempal (10-11-21), Nico Sturm (8-12-20) Devin Brosseau (7-13-20) and Haralds Egle (6-11-17) round out Clarkson's top eight scorers. 
• Freshman goaltender Jake Kielly has started 32 of Clarkson's 36 games, including 25 of the last 26. He posts a .913 save percentage and a 2.61goals against average with three shutouts.
• The Green and Gold are 12-7-3 when scoring first.
• The Knights are 0-2-5 in overtime games this season.
• The Knights have not won a game this year when trailing after two periods, going 0-8-1.
• Clarkson was ranked 15th among the Top 25 College Hockey Programs of All Time by HERO Sports - http://herosports.com/

Scouting Cornell
Guided by 22nd-year head coach Mike Schafer, Cornell enters postseason as the third seed in the ECAC Hockey playoffs. The Big Red finished with a 13-4-5 league mark, three points out of first. Ranked ninth in the national polls, Cornell owns the fourth-longest current unbeaten streak in the country at nine games (6-0-3). Overall, the Big Red stand at 18-6-5. In its last action, Cornell shut out RPI, 2-0, and skated to a 3-3 tie with Union at Lynah Rink on February 24-25 to close out the regular season. The Big Red are 9-2-2 in Ithaca this season. Their last losses on home ice came on January 27-28 when they were swept by Harvard (4-1) and Dartmouth (4-2). Mitch Vanderlaan leads Cornell in scoring with 26 points on 14 goals and 12 assists. Mitch Gillam is the Big Red's go-to guy in goal with a .921 save percentage and a 2.12 goals against average through 28 starts.

Cornell is Clarkson's oldest current rival and most familiar opponent in the ECAC Hockey playoffs. The Knights and Big Red have played 29 times in the league's postseason tournament with Cornell owning a 19-9-1 lead. 
The Big Red won the last postseason meeting, edging out the Green and Gold 1-0 in Game 3 of the 2014 quarterfinals to win the best-of-three series 2-1 at Lynah Rink. Clarkson's last playoff game victory over Cornell was a 4-1 win in Game 2 of that series, which was also the last time the Knights have won in Ithaca. The Knights' last postseason series triumph over Cornell was in 2004 when Clarkson came from behind to stun the Big Red, winning Games 2 (5-4) and Game 3 (5-1) after losing Game 1 (5-1) in the quarterfinal series at Lynah Rink. Cornell holds a 10-7-1 advantage over the Green and Gold in the conference quarterfinal round games. The Knights won their first of five ECAC Hockey Tournament titles by defeating the Big Red in 1966.

Clarkson and Cornell first played during the 1922-23 campaign with the teams battling to a 0-0 tie in Ithaca. The Big Red lead the rivalry against the Knights 64-53-15. Cornell holds a 6-2-2 advantage in the last 10 meetings, but the Green and Gold are on a three-game unbeaten streak (1-0-2) after skating to a pair of 3-3 ties this season and a 2-1 victory in overtime in Potsdam last year on January 29. The overtime win at Cheel Arena last year snapped a four-game losing skid in the series for Clarkson. Cornell's last win was a 5-2 victory at Lynah Rink on December 5, 2015. 

Jordan Boucher (3-3) and James de Haas (2-4) are the Knights' leading scorers against the Big Red with six points apiece. Troy Josephs has two tallies and one assist in the rivalry. Sam Vigneault also has three points (1-2) against Cornell. Through two games in the series, Jake Kielly posts a .895 save percentage and a 2.77 goals against average and a 0-0-2 record. In four games, Steve Perry holds a .946 save percentage, a 1.42 GAA and a 1-3 record against the Big Red. Ville Runola has started one game in the series and holds a .895 save percentage, a 2.07 GAA and a 0-1 mark.