CANTON — Saturday marked the fourth competitive Clarkson/St. Lawrence men’s hockey game this season, and the fourth time that Clarkson emerged victorious.
The Golden Knights (20-6-2 overall, 13-3 ECAC Hockey) scored late goals in the first and second periods and relied on defense and the third shutout of the season from goalie Frank Marotte to edge SLU 2-0 before a crowd of 2,321 on Legends of Appleton Night in Appleton Arena.
Clarkson won two nonconference games in overtime from St. Lawrence earlier this season at Cheel Arena and the Golden Knights won the other conference matchup at Cheel Arena, 3-1.
“Tonight was an important game,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “There was only one game on the weekend and we need two points. There’s a lot at stake here down the stretch. I thought it was a hard-fought game. I thought we worked ourself into the game. Ice conditions weren’t great. The puck was bouncing around a bit, so you had to simplify your game. It was going to be an ugly game a little bit, because of that, but we got the job done.”
SLU (3-21-4, 1-14-1) honored former men’s player Peter McGeough and former women’s player Gina Kingsbury between the first and second periods on its Legends night.
The first goal for Clarkson came at 15 minutes, 13 seconds of the opening period. Haralds Egle took a hard shot from behind the circle that went off the pads of SLU goalie Francis Boisvert.
The puck went to the other circle, where Clarkson’s Devin Brosseau was waiting, and he put the first goal of the game past Boisvert for the only goal Clarkson would need.
“I have to give credit to Haralds there, he kept the puck in the zone and put it on net,” Brosseau said. “It was a juicy rebound. I saw the SLU defenseman was kind of sliding so I tried to pull back and just put it on net. I saw the goalie was down so I put it as high as I could. Luckily it went in.”
Jack Jacome nearly gave Clarkson a 2-0 lead at 9:22 of the second period with a breakaway, but he couldn’t get a hard shot off against Boisvert and it went off his pads.
The Golden Knights scored their second goal with 11 seconds left in the second period on a shot from Nick Campoli, with Michael Underwood and Jordan Schneider assisting.
“I got the puck up to Underwood and kind of stayed out of the traffic and he shot the puck and it came out wide and I had an empty net and banged it home,” Campoli said. “It was huge for us, especially on the bench. To go up 2-0 going into the second intermission, we gave ourselves a lot of momentum.”
The Saints outshot Clarkson 8-6 in the first period, but were outshot 19-13 the rest of the way.
SLU did put some pressure on Marotte, who finished with 21 saves for the shutout.
“It was a good experience,” Marotte said of his only career game in Appleton Arena. “The student section was loud. It was a big game for them, but the way we came out, we battled all night and it made it easy for me, for sure. All four (SLU) games have been pretty crowded and tight games, too.”
SLU tested Marotte twice in the third period with breakaway attempts.
A shot by Aleksi Peltonen just 1:38 into the period was stopped by a sliding leg-pad save from Marotte.
Jordan Steinmetz staged another attempt at 4:55 but his shot went right to Marotte’s chest.
“I liked the defensive side of the game,” Saints coach Brent Brekke said. “I thought we did a good job against a team that’s obviously very talented offensively. I thought we did a decent job, for the most part, shutting them down. We’ve got to generate more offense. When we get opportunities we’ve to bury them. Those have to be the difference in the game.”
SLU’s best chance to score came with 14 seconds left when Ashton Fry spotted an empty corner of the net, but his shot missed.
“It’s definitely a disappointing result,” said SLU’s David Jankowski, who blocked four shots. “There were positives we can take away still. We weren’t disappointed with our defensive effort at all. They are a good offensive team and we limited them to (two) goals. We’ve been struggling, obviously, to put the puck in the net. It’s something we’re going to work on and continue to work on. We are going to try and take a big step as a team in that facet of the game.”