CANTON The Clarkson University hockey team once again got the best of its north country rival, this time from the start.
The Golden Knights took the initiative early and often, and St. Lawrence University didnt give itself much of a chance in the early going, which proved costly in Clarksons 4-1 victory Wednesday in an ECAC Hockey game at Appleton Arena.
In a contrast of starts, Will Frederick scored two goals in the first period and added a assist, and Joe Zarbo scored a breakaway goal in the second to propel the Golden Knights past the Saints as Clarkson continued its recent mastery of St. Lawrence by winning its fifth consecutive league game against the Saints.
I thought we had a great start and thats what we really needed, said Clarkson coach Casey Jones, whose team has won six of its past seven meetings with St. Lawrence. We worked real hard and did a good job shutting them down.
The effort led to a much-needed league win for the Golden Knights (3-7-5, 3-3-1), who bounced back after a pair of one-goal losses last weekend at Cornell and Colgate.
It was a good start for our team, Frederick said. This is the way we want to come out of the gate on the road, so to get the upper hand like this is big. Were fighting for every point we can get right now, so this is a big win for us.
Conversely, the Saints (7-6-2, 1-4-2), who were denied the programs 1,000th victory, didnt put up much of a fight in the first period against the Golden Knights, who set the tempo and had the better of the play early on.
We were terrible in the first period, said St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel, whose team continues to struggle in league play. They played very hard in the first period, were very aggressive and we werent ready to compete.
Goalie Greg Lewis made 34 saves to earn the win for Clarkson, which held the Saints top two leading scorers Kyle Flanagan and Greg Carey without a goal with the freshman goalie stopping a breakaway bid by Kyle Flanagan.
We really made it tough for them to get pucks through, Lewis said. I think we did a good job against them because they came out stronger in the second. We did a good job of keeping their shots on the outside.
Frederick struck first as bearing down on left wing, he knocked his own rebound past goalie Matt Weninger six minutes and one second into the game.
Clarkson led 2-0 as Frederick deflected in defenseman Andrew Himelsons drive from the deep left point at 15:54.
I think we came out flying and were ready to go, Zarbo said. We got a quick lead and went from there. I think we came out a bit flat in the second period, but we got right back to it and got the momentum back.
After St. Lawrence responded with better energy in the second period, Zarbo followed with his breakaway goal at 12:19 of the middle period as Clarkson built a 3-0 advantage.
They dominated the first period, Carvel said. We regrouped well, I thought we played real well in the second period, but we missed another open net and then they got that big third goal.
St. Lawrence didnt help its cause on the special teams front by going scoreless on its first four power plays, including three in the second period.
We talked about their power play all week, Lewis said. Again, we made it really hard for them to get pucks through and our defense did a really good job on their forwards by being aggressive.
The Saints broke through with a man-advantage goal 4 1/2 minutes into the third period, but finished 1-for-6 on the power play.
We were getting a little bit concerned about our penalty killing, Jones said. We just werent being aggressive enough, so we went back to fundamentals the last couple days. ... I thought we did a good job tonight of getting sticks in lanes, being aggressive and being more assertive in clearing pucks thats what we focused on.
A fortuitous sequence helped St. Lawrence draw to within 3-1 as defenseman George Hughes was credited with a power-play goal as his shot caromed off the back boards and then off a Clarkson defenseman and past Lewis 4:27 into the third.
St. Lawrence continues to struggle to find consistency, as although it lost two consecutive games for the first time this season, it was dealt its fifth loss in nine games (2-5-2) since opening league play in early November.
This was a real tough one, said Saints goalie Matt Weninger, who had 27 saves. They seem to have our number and weve got to find a way to play with more consistency.
The two teams will meet for the second time this week in a nonconference game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the historic Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid.