Photo Credit: Brad Pettengill
Friday night was a disaster. The Golden Knights took their lumps at Hobey Baker rink from the Princeton Tigers and we're forced to regroup at the end of a 7-1 defeat. The Knights showed serious resilience Saturday and put together what might have been their best game of the year in a 4-1 victory in the TD Banknorth Center against Quinnipiac.
Looking for revenge against the only two league teams the Knights had not taken points from this year, Clarkson came into the weekend with a slim chance to win the league title outright. Fortunately for Clarkson the league scores came back with Cornell and Quinnipiac losing. The regular season title belonged to SLU, but the Knights backed into second place on Friday night.
With second place wrapped up and the Knights guaranteed a week off in the playoffs, the Knights could have packed it in. This was not the attitude George Roll presented in the pre-game interview. Roll said that it was important to go into the playoffs with a win and that losing two in a row would not be acceptable. The Knights backed up his words with a strong defensive effort backboned by David Leggio.
Leggio made 42 saves, some of the spectacular variety, and was 2 minutes shy of a shutout when a seeing eye shot from Brandon Wong cut the Clarkson lead to 2-1. Up to that point the Leggio had been unbeatable, stopping a variety of powerplay and break away chances. In the end Quinnipiac outshot Clarkson 43 to 26, but Leggio was equal to the onslaught. With his best save coming in the second period on a diving stop off a Quinnipiac rebound.
After two scoreless periods Clarkson began the third on a powerplay. Following an acrobatic save on the blue line to keep play alive by Ty Mason, the puck deflected to Shea Guthrie's stick. Guthrie made one move then held the puck to the last possible second and beat Bud Fisher on the short side to give the Knights a 1-0 lead just past 3 minutes in the period.
Six minutes later Shawn Weller beat Fisher on a powerplay giving the Knights what would seem to be an insurmountable 2-0 lead. With a powerplay of their own Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold elected to pull the goaltender at the 4 minute mark. Wong converted on the chance and the game was afoot.
Quinnipiac kept the net empty and had a chance, but a centering pass was intercepted by Grant Clitsome who skated to the center line and fired the puck into the empty net. David Cayer added an empty netter a minute later and the Knights we're victorious 4-1.
In the end Clarkson stayed in second in the league and 5th in the Pairwise Rankings, nullifying the horrible game the previous night. Clarkson will look to build from this game in the playoffs at Cheel in two weeks.