A rough third period wound up costing the Clarkson University men’s hockey team as Rensselaer earned a 4-1 win in the deciding game of a best-of-three ECAC Hockey first round series before 1,758 fans at Cheel Arena Sunday night.
The game was tied as the second period ended, but Clarkson’s Allan McPherson was given a major penalty and game misconduct for drilling RPI’s Mike Bergin into the glass behind the Clarkson goal line as time expired.
Bergin made Clarkson (16-17-6 overall) pay by scoring with 47 seconds left in the five-minute advantage, giving RPI the lead for good at the 4 minute, 14 second mark of the final period.
Watching Bergin score the game-winner had to be frustrating for Clarkson because he knocked Golden Knight forward Will Frederick out of the series with a hit late in game one which he was given a major penalty for.
It did not take the Engineers (12-22-3) long after Bergin’s go-ahead goal to expand their lead as Joel Malchuk scored on the rebound of his own shot at 5:47 to make it 3-1.
RPI gave the Golden Knights some hope for a comeback by taking four penalties in the final 10 minutes of the game, giving Clarkson a 53-second, two-man advantage at one point.
Clarkson could not capitalize, however, and RPI sealed the game when Marty O’Grady scored an empty-net goal with 1:32 remaining.
The Golden Knights actually struck first in Sunday’s game, scoring on a power-play goal from freshman defenseman Sam Labrecque at 8:03 of the second period on a slap shot from just inside the blue line.
But the Clarkson goal seemed to fire up the Engineers, who began to take over the game and at one point kept the puck in the Clarkson zone for several minutes, eventually tying the game on a goal from Ryan Haggerty at 13;02 of the second period.
Sunday’s loss was hard on Clarkson’s seniors, who never managed to get out of the first round of the conference playoffs during their careers.
Goalie Paul Karpowich played the entire series on a bad knee and had to come out of warmups before game two Saturday because of the pain. He managed to play the entire series, however.