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Big Green hammers Golden Knights, 6-1

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POTSDAM — Dartmouth College stunned the Clarkson University men’s hockey team in the first period and went on to claim a 6-1 win over the Golden Knights in an ECAC Hockey game before 2,404 fans on Saturday night at Cheel Arena.

The Big Green (6-16-3 overall, 5-12-1 conference) scored four goals in the opening period, with the final one coming on a shot with 0.3 seconds left by Eric Neilly.

“I’m surprised because we haven’t had a period like that this year,” Neilly said. “But we knew with the way we’d been playing, we’d been feeling good about ourselves. We got a lucky (goal) to start and then we rolled from there.”

Clarkson (17-13-2, 10-8-0) started off well up until Dartmouth’s Rick Pinkston scored the first goal, on a shot that deflected off a Clarkson stick, at 9 minutes, 23 seconds. That started a spurt which saw the Big Green produce three goals in 2:51.

Brad Schierhorn made it 2-0 at 10:50 and Neilly scored his first goal of the game at 12:14 to end the spurt. After the third goal, Clarkson coach Casey Jones pulled starting goalie Steve Perry and replaced him with Greg Lewis.

“I have to give Dartmouth credit,” Jones said. “I thought we had a good start to the game. They got a good bounce on the first goal, it went off our stick and into the net and it really deflated us. I thought from there we never recovered. It was one of those nights that mentally and physically we just weren’t there.”

The scoring spurt was surprising because Dartmouth had led in a game after one period just five times this season, and in the last two seasons at Cheel Arena, the Big Green were unable to score. Pinkston’s first goal snapped a scoreless streak in the building of 133:29.

“I thought we played well and we created a few good bounces for ourselves, and that’s something we’ve been hoping to have,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “The last goal with a split second left in the first period was huge for us. It was big for us to come out with a lead in the first period because we were playing a really good team in Clarkson.”

Clarkson tried to work its way back in the game and finally got a goal at 17:31 of the second period on a power-play shot from freshman Jordan Boucher, his second goal of the season. A.J. Fossen and Joe Zarbo assisted. That goal snapped a streak of 112:21 for the Golden Knights without a goal.

Thirty seconds into the third period, Clarkson thought it had cut Dartmouth’s lead to 4-2 on a shot from senior Allan McPherson, but the score was waved off.

Dartmouth then put the game officially out of reach by scoring two more goals just 1:16 apart on shots from Grant Opperman (3:25) and Schierhorn (4:41).

“We just have to make sure that we don’t demoralize ourselves once we get down a little bit,” Clarkson senior Jarrett Burton said.

“You just try to keep pushing away and try to cut the lead and play five-minute segments and try to win those segments. We have to work through this. This was definitely a low point for us.”

While Clarkson didn’t lose its fourth-place spot in the standings, it saw opponents move closer. Sixth-place Yale now trails Clarkson by a point and Rensselaer is now two points behind the Golden Knights and hosts Clarkson on Saturday night in Troy.

“Obviously that wasn’t the first period we wanted to have tonight,” Clarkson senior Will Frederick said. “We continued to let the game get away from us there.”

nNOTES: Clarkson was missing senior captain Ben Sexton, who did not play in either game this weekend after suffering an injury last Saturday against Princeton. Sophomore Simon Bessette will miss the rest of the season with an injury. Sophomore forward T.J. Moor left school two weeks ago for personal reasons. He scored six goals with eight assists in 36 career games.

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