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Clarkson men return to Cheel boasting five-game unbeaten streak

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POTSDAM - It took some time for the Clarkson University men’s hockey team to find its way into the win column, but after completing a lengthy road trip the Golden Knights return to Cheel Arena owning one of the longest current unbeaten streaks in the country.

Guided by second-year head coach Casey Jones and an assistant Phil Roy ’00 and Andy Jones, Clarkson hosts ECAC Hockey foes Quinnipiac and Princeton Universities this weekend in the Green and Gold’s first league action in Potsdam this season. Both games on Friday and Saturday are 7 p.m. face-offs.

Led by junior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) and senior assistant captain Andrew Himelson (Monroe, NY), Clarkson posts the fourth-longest current unbeaten stretch in Division I at five games (1-0-4). The Knights stand at 1-4-4 overall, and are 1-0-1 in ECAC Hockey, their best start in league play since the 2007-08 campaign. Clarkson opened the league slate this past weekend on the road, skating to its first victory of the season with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Yale in New Haven, CT on Friday. The Green and Gold completed a four-game road trip with Saturday’s 3-3 tie at Brown.

Behind a stingy defensive effort, backstopped in goal by freshman Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) and an opportunistic score from junior Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT), the Knights gained their first victory of the 2012-13 campaign with the shutout over the Bulldogs. Clarkson, led by a strong effort on the blueline by senior Nik Pokulok (Vaudreuil-Dorion, QUE) and a 22-save outing from Lewis, gained its first whitewash win over a conference opponent on the road in seven years. Burton tallied his team-high fifth goal of the season with just 2:09 remaining in regulation. The Knights outshot Yale 28-22, including by an 11-2 margin in the final period, and held the home team scoreless on three power-play opportunities.

Back in the lineup for the weekend after missing the first seven games of the season with an injury, senior Adam Pawlick (Utica, NY) played a key role in the Golden Knights’ deadlock at Brown, recording the tying goal and one assist on Saturday afternoon at Meehan Auditorium in Providence, RI. Sexton and junior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) also scored as the Knights put a season-high 48 shots on the Bears’ goal, including seven in overtime. Lewis made 27 saves.

McPherson leads a balanced Clarkson offense with eight points, including six assists. Sexton (3-4) and sophomore Patrick Marsh (Oakville, ONT) (1-6) follow with seven points each. Burton and freshman Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT) (4-1) put up five points apiece.

Through eight games in goal, including seven starts, Lewis posts a .910 save percentage and a 2.58 goals against average. Freshman Andrew Hunt (Surrey, BC) holds a .897 save percentage and a 2.78 GAA through one complete game.

HOST QUINNIPIAC FRIDAY

Quinnipiac starts a six-game road trip in Potsdam looking to improve upon a 5-3-1 overall record and a 2-0 league mark. Guided by 19th-year head coach Rand Pecknold, the Bobcats earned a sweep at the TD Bank Sports Center last weekend with a 3-2 overtime triumph against Colgate and a convincing 4-1 victory over Top-10 ranked Cornell. Quinnipiac has played just one game on an opponent’s home ice this year, a season-opening 2-1 win at Maine on October 6.

The Golden Knights and Quinnipiac Bobcats have battled to an 8-8-1 deadlock through the first 17 meetings in their rivalry. The series started with a 4-0 Clarkson win in Northford, CT on February 8, 2000. Quinnipiac owns a current three-game unbeaten streak and took three of four points from Clarkson last season. The Knights were able to skate away with a 1-1 tie in Hamden, CT on November 11 last year despite being outshot 44-11. Adam Pawlick scored an extra attacker goal in the draw. In a wild affair at Cheel Arena on February 11, the Bobcats scored the only two goals in the third period to pull out a 7-6 victory.

Clarkson’s last win in the series was a 5-3 triumph at the TD Bank Sports Center on December 4, 2010. The teams have each won four times in Potsdam with The Knights’ last victory over the Bobcats at Cheel coming on February 13, 2010 (4-1). The Knights won their fifth and last ECAC Tournament title with a 4-2 victory over the Bobcats in Albany on March 17, 2007.

McPherson (2-2) has a team-high four points in the series. Adam Pawlick also has scored a team-high two goals against the Bobcats. Ben Sexton and Andrew Himelson are the only other Knights to have scored a goal against Quinnipiac.

HOST PRINCETON SATURDAY

Second-year head coach Bob Prier’s squad put an end to a season-opening, two-game losing skid with an impressive effort in ECAC Hockey action at Hobey Baker Rink this past weekend. The Tigers knocked off Cornell 5-3 on Friday and then shutout Colgate 4-0 on Saturday. Princeton, which also has former Clarkson player Tim Marks ’10 on the coaching staff, plays at St. Lawrence, Prier’s alma mater, on Friday. The Tigers’ first two games of the year were one-goal defeats to Brown (2-1) and Yale (3-2) at the Ivy Shootout on October 26-27.

Clarkson holds a decisive 72-28-5 lead in the all-time series against Princeton, which began with an 8-5 Knight victory in New Jersey on January 17, 1928. The Tigers, however, have won five of the last eight games in the series. The Knights won the last meeting, 3-2, at Cheel on February 10 with Allan McPherson scoring the winning goal early in the third period. Princeton handed Clarkson its first shutout loss in the series with a 3-0 blanking at Hobey baker Rink on November 12 last year.

In 2010-11 the teams both skated away with a road win in the series. Princeton snapped a two-game Clarkson win streak in the series by defeating the Knights 4-3 in overtime at Cheel on January 29, 2011. Clarkson defeated Princeton 5-3 at Hobey Baker Rink on December 3, 2010. The Knights claimed the program’s 10th and last ECAC regular-season crown with a 4-3 victory over Princeton in Potsdam on February 29, 2008. The Knights are 21-4 all-time against the Tigers at Cheel.

McPherson and Adam Pawlick lead the way offensively against the Tigers with four (2-2) and three (2-1) points, respectively.

KNIGHT KNOTES: The current five-game unbeaten streak is the longest stretch for the Knights since a seven-game streak (6-0-1) early last season … The last time Clarkson earned at least three of a possible four league points in a weekend road series was on December 3-4, 2010 when the Knights defeated both Princeton and Quinnipiac by 5-3 scores on their home ice … Clarkson, at 1-0-1, is off to its best start in ECAC Hockey play since going 2-0 to open the 2007-08 campaign … Freshman Greg Lewis has started seven games in goal for Clarkson, including the last three. He posts a .910 save percentage, a 2.58 goals against average and a 1-3-3 record through eight games. Lewis has stopped 84 of 89 shots (.944 save percentage) through his last three games, including all 22 shots he faced in the 1-0 win at Yale on Friday … Lewis is the first Clarkson rookie to post a shutout win since Dustin Traylen defeated Vermont 1-0 on January 11, 2003 … Paul Karpowich was Clarkson’s rookie goaltender in a 0-0 tie against Cornell on January 31, 2009 … The Knights’ last whitewash win over a conference opponent on the road was 1-0 triumph at Union in the ECAC playoffs on March 4, 2005 ... Clarkson’s leading goal scorer with five tallies, Jarrett Burton has already equaled his combined goal total through the opening 64 games of his first two seasons. Burton’s lone tally late in regulation in Friday’s 1-0 win at Yale was his first career game-winner. He is also Clarkson’s top man in the faceoff circle and won 10-of-14 draws against the Bulldogs … Adam Pawlick, the Knights’ lone senior forward, made his presence felt in the lineup for time this year. After missing the first seven games of the season with an injury, Pawlick played a key role as Clarkson skated to the three-point weekend on the road. He recorded his fourth, career two-point outing with the tying goal and an assist in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Brown … Allan McPherson leads the Knights in the point column with eight. He tallied his second goal of the year on Saturday at Brown … Clarkson’s captain Ben Sexton was a force for the Green and Gold over the weekend. He scored the game’s first goal on Saturday just under three minutes after the opening faceoff and set up the tying score against the Bears … One of the Knights’ toughest players in front of the net and in the corners, Will Frederick set up the winning goal at Yale. In the previous game, Frederick also had the lone assist, coming off a hard-working effort in the corner, on Clarkson’s second goal, also by Burton, in the 2-2 draw at Canisius … Freshman Christian Finch (Claremont, ONT) recorded his third assist in the past four games with a helper at Brown … Senior assistant captain Andrew Himelson (Monroe, NY) and freshman forward Simon Bessette (St. Jean, QUE) were also back in the lineup this weekend after missing the previous three and two games, respectively … During the current unbeaten streak, the Knights have scored the last goal in four of the five games to gain a one-goal win and three ties … Clarkson’s 48 shots against Brown on Saturday were the most by the Green and Gold since putting 50 on net in the 4-3 victory over St. Lawrence on January 21 last season … The Knights finished strong in both games on the road over the weekend, outshooting Yale 11-2 in the third and Brown 19-5 in the final 25 minutes of the overtime tie ... After this weekend’s series Clarkson plays just one more home game during the 2012 portion of the schedule, hosting Mercyhurst at Cheel Arena on December 15.

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