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Clarkson men begin stretch run against Quinnipiac, Princeton

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POTSDAM - With eight games remaining in the regular season the Clarkson University men’s hockey team will be looking to complete the stretch run with a strong finish as the Golden Knights strive to secure a top-four placing in the ECAC Hockey standings.

Guided by third-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy ‘00 and Andy Jones, Clarkson currently owns a 9-5 league mark and sits just one point out of fourth and four points shy of first.

At 16-10-2 overall and ranked 14th in the national polls, the Knights begin their longest conference road trip of the season this weekend with their second consecutive game against a Top-5 team. The Green and Gold, led by senior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) face off against 3rd-ranked Quinnipiac on Friday at the Bobcats’ TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, CT. Clarkson, which is 6-5-1 in road games, battles Princeton at Hobey Baker Rink in New Jersey on Saturday. The puck drops at 7 p.m. both nights.

Clarkson is coming off a weekend split against Capital District foes at Cheel Arena. This past Friday, the Knights shut out Rensselaer for the first time in 17 years with a 3-0 blanking. The following night, the Green and Gold held leads of 2-0 and 3-2 over fourth-ranked Union, but the Dutchmen scored the game’s final two goals to gain a 4-3 road win.

With goals from three different players and a 16-save outing from freshman Steve Perry (Ligonier, PA) the Knights posted their third shutout of the season with the win over RPI. Senior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) and sophomores Todd Christian (Norwalk, CT) and Kevin Tansey (Hammond, ONT) paced the Clarkson offense with a goal apiece. The Knights outshot an undermanned Engineer squad 29-16.

Sexton paces a balanced Clarkson offense with 22 points, including a team-high 16 assists. McPherson has netted a team-high nine goals and follows with 20 points. Perry and sophomore Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) have both see action in 14 games. Perry holds a 7-5-2 record with three shutouts on a .915 save percentage and a 2.10 goals against average. Lewis posts a .893 save percentage and a 2.63 GAA en route to an 8-5 record.

QUINNIPIAC FRIDAY

NCAA Tournament runners-up last April, Quinnipiac is bidding to return to national championship game once again. The Bobcats, guided by 20th-year head coach Rand Pecknold, are tied for most wins in the country with a 19-4-5 overall record. Ranked third in the national polls, the Bobcats are in second place in the league with a 9-2-3 ECAC Hockey mark. In its only action over the weekend, Quinnipiac dominated Dartmouth in Hanover, NH, winning 8-1. The Bobcats are 11-1-2 at home this season.

Quinnipiac has gone 4-0-1 against the Knights in the last five meetings to take a 10-8-1 lead in their series, which first started with a 4-0 Clarkson win in Northford, CT on February 8, 2000. Last season the Bobcats handed Clarkson a 5-2 defeat at Cheel Arena on November 16 and eked out a 2-1 win at TD Bank Sports Center on February 16. Quinnipiac took three of four points from Clarkson in 2011-12. The Knights were able to skate away with a 1-1 tie in Hamden, CT on November 11, 2011 for its last point in the series. Clarkson’s last win in the series was a 5-3 triumph at the TD Bank Sports Center on December 4, 2010. Quinnipiac holds a 4-2-1 lead over Clarkson at the Sports Center.

The Knights won their fifth and last ECAC Tournament title with a 4-2 victory over the Bobcats in Albany on March 17, 2007.

Allan McPherson (3-3) has a team-high six points in the series. Ben Sexton and Paul Geiger are the only other current Knights to have scored a goal against the Bobcats. Greg Lewis has played 103 minutes against Quinnipiac with an. 865 save percentage and a 4.08 goals against average.

PRINCETON SATURDAY

Princeton, which hosts St. Lawrence on Friday, enters the weekend with a 4-17 overall record and sits in 12th place in ECAC Hockey at 3-11 in the league. The Tigers, guided by third-year head coach Bob Prier, were swept on the road over the weekend, losing at Harvard 3-2 and at Dartmouth 5-3. Princeton has lost three straight and nine of its last 10. The Tigers are 2-6 at home.

Clarkson holds a decisive 74-28-5 lead in the all-time series against Princeton, which began with an 8-5 Knight victory in New Jersey on January 17, 1928. The teams are 5-5 over the past 10 meetings with Clarkson winning the last three. Last season, the Green and Gold won 7-2 in Potsdam on November 17 and 3-2 in New Jersey on February 15. Princeton handed Clarkson its first shutout loss in the series with a 3-0 blanking at Hobey Baker Rink on November 12, 2011 for its last win in the rivalry. 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.

Allan McPherson leads the way offensively against the Tigers with eight points on three goals and five assists through six games. Ben Sexton has totaled five points (1-4) through four games. Matt Zarbo is the only other Knight with multiple goals against Princeton with two. Greg Lewis posts a .920 save percentage, a 2.00 GAA and a 2-0 record through 120 minutes against the Tigers.

KNIGHT KNOTES: Clarkson posted its third shutout of the season and suffered a one-goal loss over the weekend … Steve Perry made both starts in the Clarkson goal over the weekend and blanked RPI on 16 saves in the 3-0 victory, the Knights’ first shutout over the Engineers since November, 1997. Perry has been in net for each of the Green and Gold’s three whitewashes. He also shutout Niagara 2-0 (30 saves) and Colorado College 1-0 OT (18 stops). Perry has played in 14 games overall and has started five of the last six games in the Clarkson goal. He holds a .915 save percentage and a 2.10 goals against average en route to a 7-5-2 record … Sophomore Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) has also played 14 games in net for the Knights and posts a .893 save percentage, a 2.63 GAA and an 8-5 record … In his only NCAA appearance, freshman Ville Runola (Raisio, Finland) made 20 saves in the 3-2 victory over Merrimack (1/10) … Clarkson has skated in 20 one-goal games this season, going 12-6-2. After posting a 7-0-1 mark in its first eight one-goal contests, the Knights are seeing the other end result of the tight games. Clarkson’s last three losses, and four of the last five defeats, have all been one-goal affairs … Allan McPherson is closing in on Clarkson’s elite Century Club with 91 points (37-54) in 136 career games. He leads the team in goals with nine, including four on the power play. He scored his team-high fourth game-winner in Friday’s victory over RPI. Clarkson is 8-0 when McPherson scores a goal … Jeff DiNallo has more than quadrupled his offensive effort from last year’s rookie campaign. He tallied a goal and an assist against Union and now has 17 points (8-9) through 26 games after recording four points (2-2) in 16 games as a freshman … Playing for the first time in eight games, Todd Christian scored his first goal of the season in Friday’s win … Sophomore Christian Powers (Carlisle, ONT) set up Christian’s goal with his first point of the season and second career assist by winning a face off back to his classmate … Clarkson defensemen accounted for three of the Knights’ six goals over the weekend. Kevin Tansey tallied his third goal of the year to cap off the scoring in Friday’s win over RPI. Clarkson’s leading scorer from the blueline, Paul Geiger opened the scoring against Union and James Howden notched his first tally since October 12 with the Knights’ third goal against the Dutchmen … Clarkson’s depth up front was tested on Saturday against Union as four regular forwards were out of the lineup due to injuries. … Senior Mike Garlasco (Mahwah, NJ) saw his first action of the season on Saturday against the Dutchmen.

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