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Clarkson men look to continue strong start in New England

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POTSDAM - After a split on the road in its opening ECAC Hockey weekend the Clarkson University men’s hockey team completes a stretch of four consecutive away games against Ivy League foes with another lengthy trip to New England this weekend.

Guided by third-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy ‘00 and Andy Jones, the Golden Knights travel to Hanover, NH on Friday for a 7 p.m. game against Dartmouth College at Thompson Arena. The Knights then move on to Cambridge, MA to face off against Harvard for a 7 p.m. Saturday contest at Bright Hockey Center.

Off to its best start through 10 games since the 1991-92 campaign, Clarkson stands at 7-2-1 overall and is ranked 15th and 16th in the USA Today/USA Hocley Magazine and USCHO.com national polls, respectively. Led by senior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT), the Green and Gold are 1-1 in ECAC Hockey play after a 4-3 win at Brown and a 6-3 loss at 11th-ranked Yale.

The Knights came away with another victory on late-game heroics to defeat Brown at Meehan Auditorium in Providence, RI this past Friday. Freshman A.J. Fossen (Maple Grove, MN) tallied his first collegiate goal with just 1:53 remaining in regulation to lift Clarkson to its third consecutive one-goal win. Clarkson received another balanced outing with four different goal scorers and 10 players recording a point. Senior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) paced the effort up front with a goal and an assist. Junior defenseman Sam Labrecque (Granby, QUE) and senior Will Frederick also scored goal as the Green and Gold built a 3-1 lead in the opening 20 minutes. Clarkson’s specialty teams’ play, which has been consistent all season, was a difference maker. The Knights went 2-5 with the man-advantage and killed off all four of the Bears’ man-advantage opportunities. Sophomore Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) made 30 saves to improve his record to 4-1.

A late rally fell short and a six-game unbeaten stretch came to an end for Clarkson on Saturday night as the defending national champions doubled up the Knights at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, CT. Sophomore defenseman Kevin Tansey (Hammond, ONT) scored, Frederick tallied his second of the weekend and junior Joe Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) netted his fourth of the year. Penalties, however, caught up to the Green and Gold as Yale skated on six power-play opportunities, converting twice. The Knights trailed 4-1 early in the third, but closed the gap to 4-3 midway through the final stanza before the Bulldogs sealed their home win with two late scores.

AT DARTMOUTH FRIDAY

Guided by 17th-year head coach Bob Gaudet, Dartmouth has struggled at the start of the 2013-14 campaign. The Big Green are 0-4 and have been outscored 22-8. This past weekend in Hanover was a disaster for Dartmouth as the Big Green dropped two games at home by a combined score of 14-3 in their ECAC Hockey openers. Capital District foes Union and Rensselaer both put up seven goals on Dartmouth with the Dutchmen winning 7-2 on Friday and the Engineers winning 7-1 on Saturday. The Big Green opened the season at the Liberty Invitational on October 25-26 with a 3-2 overtime setback to Princeton and a 5-3 defeat to Brown.

The Golden Knights hold an overwhelming 67-25-7 advantage all-time in the rivalry against Dartmouth, which began with a 4-1 Clarkson win on February 4, 1929. The teams split their series last year with each winning impressively on its home ice. The Big Green won the first meeting of the 2012-13 campaign, 5-1 at Thompson Arena on January 26. The Knights answered back on February 22 with their second consecutive 4-0 shutout over Dartmouth at Cheel Arena. Clarkson also claimed the first meeting of the 2011-12 campaign with a 4-0 shutout over Dartmouth in Potsdam on November 19, 2011. Clarkson holds a 3-2 lead in the last five meeting in the series and is 5-4-1 in the last 10 games against the Big Green. The Knights have lost their last two games at Thompson Arena after defeating Dartmouth 4-1 in Hanover, NH on February 26, 2011.

Allan McPherson has recorded a team-high five points against Dartmouth on two goals and three assists through six games. Classmates Alex Boak and Jarrett Burton also have scored twice against the Big Green. Greg Lewis posts a .947 save percentage and a 2.03 GAA through 118 minutes in the series.

AT HARVARD SATURDAY

Harvard, guided by10th-year head coach Ted Donato, takes a 2-1-1 overall record and a 1-1-1 conference mark into this weekend. The Crimson host St. Lawrence on Friday prior to meeting the Knights. Harvard picked up three points in league action against Rensselaer last week, rallying for a 3-3 tie inTroy, NY on Tuesday and then shutting out the Engineers 2-0 in Cambridge on Friday. Union handed the Crimson their first loss of the season on Saturday with a 4-2 setback at Bright Hockey Center.

Clarkson and Harvard have battled to a 51-51-11 deadlock in their series, which began with a 2-1 Clarkson win in Lake Placid on December 28, 1935. The Knights snapped a five-game losing skid in the series with a convincing 5-1 victory at Bright Hockey Center on January 25 in the first meeting last season, but the Crimson won in Potsdam to even the all-time series. Harvard, which is 4-1 against Clarkson in the last five games and 6-3-1 over the past 10, won 6-2 at Cheel on February 22.

Matt Zarbo, who tallied three assists in the first meeting last season, and Allan McPherson lead Clarkson in scoring against Harvard with six points (1-5) each in seven games. Joe Zarbo enjoyed a four-point effort (3-1) in the 5-1 win in January with his first career hat trick. Ben Sexton also has four points (2-2) in the series. Greg Lewis holds a .860 save percentage and a 3.85 GAA in the rivalry.

KNIGHT KNOTES: Clarkson has seven wins through the first 10 games after compiling just nine in 36 contests last year … The Knights are 4-0-1 in one-goal games this season after winning just three of 17 one-goal games in 2012-13 … Clarkson is ranked among the Top 20 teams in both national polls for the first time since November 2008 … The Green and Gold are tied for sixth in the country in winning percentage (.750) … The Knights’ scoring defense is ranked eighth in Division I, allowing only 2.10 goals per game … Clarkson has outshot eight of its 10 opponents … Clarkson has played the most games in the country at 10 and leads the nation in shots on goal (341) … The Knights boast the second best effort on face offs in the country at .559% (371-293) … Greg Lewis and Steve Perry have split the Clarkson goaltending duties with both earning five starts. Perry posts a .925 save percentage and a 1.94 goals against average en route to a 3-1-1 record, including a pair of shutouts (tied for first in the country). Lewis also has a .925 save percentage to go along with a 2.00 GAA and a 4-1 record … Clarkson received another balanced offensive effort in its opening weekend of ECAC Hockey play as 12 different Knights recorded at least one point on the stat sheet, including six different goal scorers accounting for the seven goals in two games … Through the first 10 games, 20 Knights have recorded at least one point and 17 players have scored a goal … With an assist in each of the last three games, Ben Sexton paces the Clarkson offense with a team-high nine points and eight assists. Sexton leads the nation in face offs won (124) and is one of the country’s best centers in draw percentage (.626%) … Allan McPherson, who tallied three points (1-2) on the weekend, shares the team lead in goals with four, and also adds four assists for eight points … Sophomore defenseman Paul Geiger (Stouffville, ONT) leads the attack from the blueline with eight points, including seven assists … Sophomore Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT), who has missed two games with injuries, has recorded at least one point in each of his last four games. He has seven points (1-6) through eight games … Joe Zarbo also has four goals and shares the team lead in game-winners along with senior Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT) at two apiece … Sam Labrecque, Will Frederick and McPherson have tallied a team-high two power-play goals each. Fredericks netted boths his goals this past weekend … A.J. Fossen became the latest Clarkson rookie to score his first collegiate goal with the game-winning tally with just 1:53 left in regulation in the 4-3 victory at Brown … The Knights have scored a power-play goal in eight games, and are clicking at 22.5% on the man-advantage (9-40) … Clarkson’s penalty-killing units have allowed just six opponent power-play goals in 41 attempts (85.4%) … Kevin Tansey, who missed all of last season recovering from injuries, scored the opening goal at Yale for his first goal since February 25, 2012. He also has three assists on the season … Clarkson’s six defensemen account for 20% of the Knights’ offense with seven goal and 13 assists … The Knights are 5-0-1 when leading through two periods.

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