POTSDAM — There were plenty of tense moments in Saturday’s Clarkson/St. Lawrence University men’s hockey game, just like the two overtime games the Golden Knights won back in early November.
But Clarkson outlasted the Saints 3-1 Saturday before a sellout crowd of 3,158 fans in an ECAC Hockey game at Cheel Arena.
By the time defenseman Connor McCarthy scored his second power-play goal of the night, at 11 minutes, 2 seconds of the third period, Clarkson fans relaxed enough that in the final minute of the game the student section sang “Happy Birthday” to Clarkson forward Jack Jacome, who turned 21 Saturday.
Clarkson (11-3-1 overall, 6-1 conference) beat the Saints in a special teams contest as all four goals in the game came during power plays. Clarkson, which ranks second nationally in combined special teams, went 3-for-6 on the power play and killed six of its seven penalties.
McCarthy, a 6-foot-7 defenseman, scored two goals, but forward Haralds Egle put on the best show Saturday night with a goal and two assists.
Egle was so dominant that in the second period he took seven shots on goal. SLU (3-12-2, 1-6) took eight shots that period.
“I thought he was a dominant player,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said of Egle. “He’s been pretty consistent here the whole first half. I thought he was the best player on the ice, for the most part, from start to end. He got pucks hard to the net. The puck was a little bit on a string for him tonight.”
Saints coach Brent Brekke, who worked with Clarkson’s forwards last year as an assistant coach, knows very well the impact Egle can have in a game.
“He’s a special player and he was on tonight,” Brekke said. “I love the kid and he’s a special player and he’s a difference maker and he was that tonight for sure.”
Clarkson scored the opening goal of the game on its first power-play chance, after SLU’s Bo Hanson was called for slashing at 11:40 of the first period.
McCarthy picked up the goal on a shot from the circle with Egle and Devin Brosseau assisting.
“It feels fantastic,” McCarthy said. “It was kind of easy. I just got open and they were really nice passes. I just shoot it and it goes in. It was just a quick one-timer, trying to get it on net, lucky enough it went in.”
SLU, which had gone 0-for-14 on the power play against Clarkson this season, thought it tied the game during an interference penalty to Clarkson’s Shane Kuzmeski in the second period.
A shot by Keenan Suthers hit the net at 11:20 but only referee Anthony Kenney reacted, as he started pointing at the net to indicate a goal. Once Kenney pointed at the net then Suthers began to celebrate.
But after a two-minute video review it was determined that Suthers’ shot never went into the goal.
Clarkson’s Josh Dunne was called for high sticking at 12:53 of the second period and this time the Saints snapped their power-play drought against Clarkson with a goal that counted from Jake Stevens at 13:26, tying the game 1-1. Hanson and Zach Risteau assisted on the goal.
“Their penalty kill is pretty good this year and our power play is OK,” Stevens said. “Bo got the puck to me on the flank and I just got a puck on net.”
But 44 seconds after the goal SLU found itself back on the penalty kill when Dylan Woolf was called for interference.
Just 26 seconds into the power play Egle scored off passes from Zach Tsekos and McCarthy to put Clarkson ahead for good 2-1.
“It was a good game but it’s not like everything went my way,” Egle said. “I tried to read the plays and it worked out really well today. It was good for the team to get the momentum back after we let in a goal. I think it was huge.”
Woolf was called for slashing at 10:35 of the third period and McCarthy extended the lead to 3-1 with a power-play goal from almost the exact spot as his first goal at 11:02. Egle and Brosseau assisted.
“I love these games,” said Clarkson goalie Frank Marotte, who stopped 24 of 25 shots. “It’s a good rivalry. It’s always tight games against them. They come out to play and we showed what we could do.”