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Niagara shuts out Clarkson, 2-0


POTSDAM — The last thing the Clarkson University men’s hockey team needed was to run into a hot goalie.

Still searching for its first win of the season, Clarkson was thwarted by a 44-save effort by Niagara’s Carsen Chubak as the Purple Eagles earned a 2-0 win before 2,502 fans in a nonconference game at Cheel Arena Friday night.

Clarkson (0-4 overall) couldn’t capitalize on six power-play chances, including a stretch late in the second period when the Golden Knights had a two-man advantage for 1 minute, 22 seconds.

Last year, Clarkson scored on 17.9 percent of its power plays.

Through four games of the 2012-13 season the Golden Knights are just 1-of-16.

“If you don’t take advantage of a five-on-three, power-play, generally that’s going to come back and bite you, and it did tonight,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “We generated enough scoring chances tonight. We needed a couple more poised plays there. We’re gripping our sticks right now.

“I thought tonight we didn’t have enough traffic in front of (Chubak). He was able to get real aggressive on shots. We were a little bit out of our element in terms of the five-on-three. We got a little antsy there and they were aggressive up top.”

Clarkson captain Ben Sexton was one of the players who took Friday’s loss hard.

Sexton blamed himself for taking two penalties in the second period, including one that led to the first goal of the game on Niagara’s power play. He also wasn’t happy with his performance while on the ice during the five-on-three.

“We got a lot of shots on net,” Sexton said. “It was just one of those night’s where it wasn’t going for us. I don’t think that was the reason we lost tonight. It starts with discipline right up at the top and a couple of penalties I had weren’t what we needed.”

Niagara’s first goal, which came at 8 minutes, 14 seconds of the second period, was a strange play.

Dan Kolenda was credited with the goal on a shot that banked off the boards behind the net and appeared to hit Clarkson goalie Greg Lewis in the back of the leg before going in.

“It took a quick bounce off the backboards, but I should have had it,” Lewis said.

Lewis didn’t let the weird goal rattle him, however.

“I think that’s one of my better qualities,” Lewis said. “I just got back out there as a goalie. You can’t get too flustered out there.”

Niagara (2-2-2) extended the lead to 2-0 at 3:07 of the third period when Marc Zanette scored on a bad angle from the short side of the crease.

“We didn’t spend enough time at the top of the crease,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. “(Zanette) made a great play. He was taking it to the net and he saw a little hole.”

Niagara played at Michigan State last weekend and had two-goal leads both nights heading into the third period, but settled for a loss and a tie.

“The guys took it bad and we were hard on them,” Burkholder said. “We got the lead tonight and I think the bench felt it wasn’t going to happen again. We weren’t going to give up this lead tonight.”

Clarkson had some discipline issues after the second goal that cost the Golden Knights some chances to get back in the game.

The Golden Knights were about to go on a power play at 7:48 of the third period after Niagara’s Matt Dineen was called for holding, but Mike Garlasco picked up a roughing penalty as the whistle sounded that resulted in a four-on-four situation.

Clarkson outshot the Purple Eagles 19-5 in the third period, desperately trying to get a shot past Chubak.

“You don’t want to let in one, because if you let in one you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Chubak said. “A two-goal lead is better than one.”

NOTES: Joe Zarbo led Clarkson with eight shots on goal. Defensemen Alex Boak and Sam Labrecque each had five shots. ... Lewis, who was third-string at the start of the season, has now started three straight games in goal and has an .891 save percentage. ... Clarkson has led just 12.6 percent of the time so far this season and has trailed 44.9 percent.

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