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Clarkson men’s hockey ties series against Cornell

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ITHACA — A strong night on special teams helped the Clarkson University men’s hockey team even a best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series with Cornell University Saturday night.

Clarkson (21-16-4 overall) defeated the Big Red, 4-1, before 3,952 fans at Lynah Rink.

The Golden Knights scored two of their goals on power plays and killed five penalties, allowing the Big Red (16-9-5) only six shots during five man-advantage chances.

Game three will be at 7 p.m. tonight, with the winner advancing to Lake Placid for a semifinal game Friday.

Goalie Steve Perry made 23 saves to keep Clarkson alive.

“I thought we competed really hard tonight and I thought we executed the game plan and managed the puck a lot better tonight,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “Penalty killing starts with the goaltending and Steve Perry made some really big saves and the guys did a really good job. (Assistant coach Andy Jones) does a fantastic job of getting the guys prepared for what the looks are going to be.”

Said defenseman Paul Geiger, “I thought our (defense) did a better job of moving pucks out of our own end. Tonight we were more casual with it, and we made good first passes to get the puck out. We’ll look over the game tape and make some small improvements and get back at it tomorrow with a little momentum on our side.”

Clarkson struck first in Saturday’s game after Cornell’s John Knisley was called for elbowing at 6 minutes, 18 seconds of the first period.

Sophomore Jeff DiNallo scored for the Golden Knights 42 seconds later, taking a pass from Allan McPherson in the right corner and beating Big Red goalie Andy Iles with a shot. Ben Sexton also assisted.

The Big Red had a chance to tie the game while shorthanded with 2:12 left in the first period. Cornell’s Jeff Kubiak came out of the penalty box just as the puck was heading his way and skated in alone on Perry. But Perry made a quick glove snag to end the threat.

The Golden Knights extended the lead to 2-0 at 5:52 of the second period on the first career goal by sophomore Christian Powers.

Geiger took a shot from outside and Powers, who was positioned near the net, tipped it in with his stick.

“It’s huge,” Powers said. “It’s a good thing I was kind of saving (the first goal). To get a goal here, in this type of game, is pretty special.”

Powers had special plans for the puck from his first career goal.

“It’s my (father Bruce’s) birthday today, so I might give it to him,” Powers said.

Just 42 seconds after the goal, Cornell’s Eric Freschl was called for hooking, and 59 seconds after that, freshman James de Haas made it 3-0 Clarkson with a power-play tally from just inside the blue line.

“I just tried to find a lane to get a shot through,” de Haas said. “I don’t know if the goalie didn’t see it, or what, but it just found the back of the net. Most of the time you try to get it past the first guy.”

“They executed on the power play and got the one-goal lead and a kid gets his first goal of the year on a tip and makes it 2-0,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. “Then a wrist shot from the point. Things in hockey can go that way on any given night. The special teams (were) won by them, and now we have to win in game three.”

Cornell cut the lead to 3-1 at 11:09 of the second on a shot form the circle by Patrick McCarron.

Clarkson had a major power play that started late in the second, but wound up losing 3:55 of the five-minute advantage after penalties were called on DiNallo and de Haas.

Another Golden Knight penalty, this one a holding call on Kevin Tansey at 4:43 of the third period, gave the Big Red another chance to get back in the game. But Perry used his glove to rob a scoring chance, this one on a shot by John McCarron.

The scoring ended with an empty-net goal from Jarrett Burton with 7.4 seconds remaining.

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