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Zarbo puts some zip into Golden Knights’ offense

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POTSDAM — A four-goal weekend, including the first hat trick of his college career, helped Clarkson sophomore Joe Zarbo earn the ECAC Hockey Player of the Week Award.

Zarbo, a native of Grand Island, scored three goals last Friday in Clarkson’s 5-1 win at Harvard and then scored the only goal for the Golden Knights on Saturday in a 5-1 loss at Dartmouth.

Zarbo scored just three goals in 36 games in his freshman year, but he leads Clarkson in goals this season with 11 goals in 20 games and ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 13 points.

“Joe has taken himself to another level by getting his feet moving,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “He’s the most natural goal-scorer we have, and he’s taken himself to those areas by moving his feet and working hard. When you get someone that’s hot like that, he could be dangerous.”

Zarbo plays on a line with his older brother Matt, a junior, and senior Adam Pawlick, who also scored a goal against Harvard.

“They had some chemistry there in terms of moving pucks,” Jones said. “Matt is a stabilizing force there defensively with that line. They both have very good puck-protection skills, which allow them to sustain shifts, which is where they get a lot of their goals.”

Said Joe Zarbo, “We’ve been working really good lately. I might be a little more skill (than Matt), but he works hard. (Pawlick) is a combination. He’s a skill guy who works hard and he’ll battle to get pucks.”

DEFENSE KEY THIS WEEKEND

Clarkson (5-13-6 overall, 4-6-2 conference) plays a dangerous offensive team tonight in Colgate (13-9-2, 5-6-1), which averages 3.3 goals and scores on close to 23 percent of its power plays.

The Raiders came from behind twice to beat Clarkson 5-4 in overtime in Hamilton on Dec. 1.

“Colgate, coming in here (tonight), has been our focal point all week,” Jones said after Wednesday’s practice. “They are a very good skating team. I thought they had us back on our heels in their building the last time we played them. They were very active on defense and we have to be physical this weekend.”

Freshman defense Paul Geiger noticed right away how dangerous the Raiders can be on offense.

“They are quick,” Geiger said. “They transition the puck really well and they can skate. Down at Colgate we weren’t too physical with them. Here we need to be more physical with them and shut down their speed.”

Saturday’s opponent, Cornell (8-9-2, 4-6-2), is not as potent on offense, averaging just 2.37 goals, but goals in games against the Big Red are often rare.

Cornell won 3-1 on Nov. 30 in Ithaca, but one of the goals was an empty-netter in the final minute.

Last year, the team’s played to a 1-1 tie at Cheel Arena and the teams have played two 0-0 games in the last five years.

“Everyone is going to have to be aware in the defensive zone,” Clarkson senior Nik Pokulok said. “Cornell likes to ride the puck down low. It’s going to be tiring, that’s why we’ll need all six (defensemen) to go hard on defense.”

TOUGH WEEK FOR COLGATE

Colgate coach Don Vaughan announced on Tuesday that sophomore defenseman Spiro Goulakos has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a type of cancer that originates from white blood cells in the lymph nodes.

Goulakos, a Montreal, Quebec, native, has left school to begin chemotherapy treatments. He played in 21 games for Colgate and had six goals and nine assists.

Goulakos underwent a routine physical examination in December and, during one of the tests, doctors noticed abnormal results.

More tests were performed and last Friday his family found out the results. He played in last weekend’s games against Brown and Yale.

“It hits home,” Jones said. “There’s not many people you know who don’t have somebody in that situation. Our thoughts go out to him and to the Colgate hockey family and his family as well. (Vaughan) was a coach for myself when I was at Cornell. He’ll handle it well. He talks about what a great teammate he is, and that hits home. We’re thinking about them.”

Cap Carey covers Clarkson University hockey for the Times. He can be reached at ccarey@wdt.net

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