POTSDAM - After closing out the 2013 portion of the schedule with back-to-back losses for the first time this season, the Clarkson University mens hockey team will look to regroup as it opens the New Year with a weekend series at UMass-Lowell.
The Golden Knights, guided by third-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy 00 and Andy Jones, will complete a three-game stretch against the River Hawks when they take on the Hockey East foe at Tsongas Center on Friday at 7 p.m. and on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Led by senior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT), Clarkson stands at 12-5-1 overall and is ranked 11th/9th in the national polls. The Green and Gold, who resume ECAC Hockey action in mid-January, enter 2014 in third place in the conference standings with a 6-2 league mark. After this weekend series at Lowell, the Knights will host Merrimack College at Cheel Arena on January 10-11 to close out a six-game run against Hockey East foes. Clarkson returns to ECAC Hockey action on January 17-18, hosting defending national champion Yale and Brown.
Clarkson went 9-1-1 in one-goal games before the 20-day exam/holiday break, but could not win the close games at the Catamount Cup held at the University of Vermont this past weekend. The Knights fell to the host Catamounts 3-2 on Saturday and came up short against Lowell on Sunday, losing 3-1 with the River Hawks sealing the deal on a late goal as Clarkson was in the process of pulling the goaltender for an extra attacker.
Playing in only its third game in 42 days and in its first action since a 4-3 victory at St. Lawrence on December 7, Clarkson fell behind 2-0 in the first period and could not recover against the Catamounts on their home ice at Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, VT. Clarkson outshot UVM 31-19 and got goals from senior Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT) and sophomore Jeff DiNallo (Aurora, ONT). Freshman Steve Perry (Ligonier, PA) posted 16 saves in his first start since November 2.
Sophomore goaltender Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) kept Clarkson close against Lowell, but the Green and Golds offense struggled to connect after the long layoff coming into the tournament. Lewis finished with 31 saves as the River Hawks held a 34-19 shot advantage. Sexton tied the game 1-1 early in the third, but Lowell tallied its second power-play marker late in the final frame and clinched the win, scoring its third goal with 62 seconds remaining when Lewis was caught out of the net as the Knights were in the process of getting an extra attacker on the ice.
An NCAA Frozen Four participant last April, Lowell has gone 12-2 since opening the season 1-3. Head Coach Norm Bazins squad, ranked 9th/10th in the lastest polls, has won eight of its last nine games to improve to 13-5. The River Hawks boast the nations stingiest scoring defense, allowing only 1.83 goals per games. Lowell defeated Canisius 5-2 in the opening round of the Catamount Cup before edging Clarkson in the second day of the classic tournament. The River Hawks are 4-2 in Hockey East and 5-3 at Tsongas Center this season.
Lowell is enjoying a lengthy winning streak over the Knights and has evened the all-time series to 11-11. Clarkson won the first meeting 10-2 in Potsdam on November 11, 1978, and was 6-2 against the River Hawks in the 1990s, but Lowell has dominated play in the 2000s winning all seven meetings. Prior to the 3-1 victory at the Catamount Cup on Sunday, the River Hawks swept the Green and Gold at Cheel Arena, winning 2-1 and 6-2 last year on January 4-5. The Knights last win in the series was a 6-4 triumph in Potsdam on December 10, 1999.
Clarkson is 0-3 at the Tsongas Center. Lowell posted a 3-2 victory over the Knights in the last meeting on the River Hawks home ice, on December 4, 2004
Allan McPherson,Will Frederick and Ben Sexton are the only current Knights to have scored a goal against Lowell. Pat Megannety (0-2), Sexton (1-1) and McPherson (1-1) have a team-high two points, in the series. Greg Lewis has started three games against the River Hawks and posts a .875 save percentage and a 3.07 goals against average.
KNIGHT KNOTES: Although Clarkson has recently played the same opponent three straight times in the opening rounds of the ECAC Hockey playoffs, the consecutive games against UMass-Lowell will mark the first time the Knights have played the same opponent three straight times during the regular season since opening the 1946-47 camapign with three games against Princeton ... Clarkson has gone 9-2-1 in one-goal games this year after winning just three times in 17 of those contests in 2012-13 Four of this years one-goal victories have come in the final minutes of play – two by Allan McPherson. The veteran center scored his second consecutive game-winner late in regulation when he netted his team-high seventh goal of the year with 37.3 seconds left in the 3-2 victory over Cornell (11/15). He also scored with two minutes remaining in the 2-1 triumph at Harvard (11/9) in the previous game. McPherson has three game-winners on the year, having also scored the deciding goal in the 2-1 victory over Colorado College (10/25). He has 12 career game-winners Freshman A.J. Fossen (Maple Grove, MN) tallied the game-winner with 1:53 left in 4-3 win at Brown (11/1) and junior Joe Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) scored with 9.9 seconds left in overtime to lift the Green and Gold to a 1-0 win against Colorado College (10/26). Joe Zarbo, who is tied with McPherson for the team lead in GWGs, also netted the deciding goal in the 4-3 victory at St. lawrence (12/7) Nineteen Knights have scored a goal this season and 20 players have accounted for at least one point Ben Sexton paces the Knights balanced attack with 17 points on five goals and a team-high 12 assists. He has a current six-game point-scoring streak (3-3) ... Jeff DiNallo extended his point-scoring streak to six games and his goal-scoring streak to four with a goal against Vermont (12/28). He was held off the scoresheet against Lowell (12/29). DiNallo has already surpassed his totals from last year (2-2-4) with six goals and five assists through 16 games this season. His 11 points are fourth most this season for the Green and Gold ... Clarksons leading goal scorer with seven, Allan McPherson has four assists in his past three games. McPherson is second for the Knights in points with 15 (7-8) ... Paul Geiger (Stouffville, ONT) leads Clarkson defensemen in scoring with 10 points (2-8) Freshman blueliner James de Haas (Mississauga, ONT) has scored six points (2-4), leading Clarksons rookies in scoring The Knights have scored at least one power-play goal in each of the past four games and own the nations 9th-rated unit, clicking at 22.7% (17-75) with the man-advantage ... Clarkson has outshot all but four opponents through the first 18 games.