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Clarkson men face ECAC rivals Cornell, Colgate on the road this weekend

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POTSDAM - ECAC play resumes for the Clarkson University men’s hockey team as the Golden Knights travel to Central New York to battle Cornell and Colgate this weekend.

The Knights will face off against second-year head coach Casey Jones’ alma mater, Cornell in a 7 p.m. game at Lynah Rink in Ithaca on Friday, and then take on the Raiders of Colgate at Starr Rink in Hamilton starting at 4 p.m.

Jones along with assistants Phil Roy ’00 and Andy Jones, have guided a young Green and Gold squad to a 2-5-5 overall record, but just one loss since late October. The Knights, led by junior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) and senior assistant captain Andrew Himelson (Monroe, NY), have gone 2-1-5 over their past eight games. Clarkson is tied for fifth in the ECAC Hockey standings with a 2-1-1 conference mark.

The Knights opened a five-game road trip with a 3-3 tie at Rochester Institute of Technology this past Friday. Clarkson jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period with a pair of shorthanded goals by freshmen Simon Bessette (St. Jean, QUE) and Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT). The Knights, however, had to battle back with a third-period goal by junior Matt Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) to gain their fifth overtime draw of the season. Clarkson held a 44-29 advantage in shots. Freshman Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) made 26 saves and was especially strong late in regulation and in the extra session.

Junior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) leads Clarkson in scoring with 13 points, including a team-high 10 assists. Sexton, who is expected to be out of the lineup for several weeks with an injury, is the only other Knight in double figures with 10 points on four goals and six assists. Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT) follows with nine points, including a team-high six goals.

Lewis has seen the bulk of the action in the Clarkson goal having played 11 games, including 10 starts. He posts a .897 save percentage and a 2.85 goals against average en route to a 2-4-4 record with one shutout.

The Knights have struggled on the trip to Central NY, managing just two points (3-3 tie at Colgate on December 6, 2008 and a 0-0 draw at Cornell on December 3, 2011) in the previous four seasons. Clarkson gained three points on the trip in 2007-08 with a 1-1 tie against the Raiders and a 4-2 victory over Cornell. The last time, the Green and Gold swept the weekend road series at Colgate and Cornell was during the 1996-97 campaign on February 28 (3-1 over the Big Red) and March 1 (7-3 over the Raiders).

CORNELL FRIDAY

Ranked among the top teams in the nation, Cornell is coming off an impressive 5-1 victory over Michigan at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Guided by 18th-year head coach Mike Schafer, the Big Red stand at 4-3-2 overall and are 1-3-2 in ECAC Hockey, tied for eighth in the standings. Cornell is on a current five-game winless stretch in the conference (0-3-2) and has gone 0-1-2 in its last three games at Lynah Rink

Cornell is the Knights’ oldest current rival having first played during the 1922-23 campaign with the teams battling to a 0-0 tie in Ithaca. The Big Red lead the rivalry against the Knights 57-49-14. Cornell holds a current nine-game unbeaten streak (6-0-3) in the series.

Last season, Clarkson and Cornell battled to a pair of ties in ECAC play, 0-0 at Lynah Rink in Ithaca on December 3 and 1-1 at Cheel Arena on February 17. The Big Red also skated to a 5-3 non-league victory in the consolation contest of the Florida Tournament on December 30.

Clarkson took two from the Big Red during the 2007-08 campaign, winning 4-2 at Lynah Rink (1/20) and 4-1 at Cheel Arena (2/8), for its first conference sweep in the rivalry since the 1998-99 campaign and its last victories in the series.

Ben Sexton is the Knights’ leading scorer in the series with two goals and one assist in two games. Adam Pawlick is the only other current Clarkson player to have scored a goal against Cornell with one tally through six games. Allan McPherson has a team-high two assists through five games in the series.

COLGATE SATURDAY

Colgate, which hosts St. Lawrence on Friday, takes a three-game (2-0-1) unbeaten streak into the weekend. The Raiders, guided by 20th-year head coach Don Vaughan stand at 6-6-2 overall and are also tied for fifth in the ECAC Hockey standings with a 2-3-1 league mark. In its only game last weekend, Colgate skated to a 1-1 tie at Merrimack on Friday. In their last action at Starr Rink, the Raiders posted an impressive sweep over Dartmouth (5-4) and Harvard (1-0) on November 16-17 to improve to 5-2 at home this season.

Clarkson leads the Raiders in their all-time series, which began during the 1927-28 campaign, 81-46-15. The Knights snapped a nine-game winless stretch against the Raiders with a 2-1 victory in Potsdam on February 18 last season.

Colgate, which is 8-3-7 over the last 17 games in the series, gained a 4-2 win in Hamilton on December 2 in the first meeting last season. The two New York State rivals have battled to six ties over the past 13 regular-season meetings. The Knights are 25-24-5 at Starr Rink. Jarrett Burton (1-1), Joe Zarbo (1-1) and Will Frederick (0-2) lead the Knights’ offense against the Raiders with two points each.

KNIGHT KNOTES: The Knights have just one loss over the past eight games, going 2-1-5 since late October … Clarkson has five ties first through the first 12 games of the season, two short of tying the school record for draws in a season, set during the 2008-09 campaign when the Knights went 10-19-7 … Clarkson has scored the game’s last goal in four of this season’s five ties. In three of those draws, all on the road, the Knights responded with the equalizer less than a minute after the opponent went on top - 35 seconds after Canisius’ third goal in 3-3 final (11/3); 55 seconds after Brown’s third goal in 3-3 tie (11/10); 61 seconds after RIT’s third goal in 3-3 draw (11/23). In Clarkson’s first tie of the year, the Knights came back with their fourth goal 3:58 after Niagara went ahead in the 4-4 draw (10/27) … Clarkson is unbeaten in its last five road games (1-0-4). The Knights have not lost on the road since suffering a pair of 5-4 setbacks at Colorado College in the first games of the season on October 12-13 … The Knights two shorthanded goals scored at RIT on Friday by freshmen Simon Bessette and Pat Megannety was the first time Clarkson has tallied a pair of shorties in a game since a 5-3 loss at Cornell on January 30, 2010 … Matt Zarbo recorded his first points of the season with an assist and the tying goal at RIT … Bessette also had a two-point night against the Tigers, including his second career goal and first since the season-opener at Colorado College … Andrew Himelson, who missed three games with an injury, has three assists over the past two games, including one at RIT … Freshman Christian Finch (Claremont, ONT) helped to set up the tying score at RIT for his fourth assist over his past six games … Clarkson played with only 17 skaters, 11 forwards against the Tigers … The Knights were missing Ben Sexton, senior Adam Pawlick (Utica, NY), junior Mike Garlasco (Mahwah, NJ) and sophomores Sam Labrecque (Granby, QUE), Patrick Marsh (Oakville, ONT) and Joe Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) all out with injuries … The Knights are generating scoring opportunities, outshooting their opponents in nine of the 12 games. Clarkson has recorded three games with over 40 shots this season, equaling last year’s season total for 40-shot outings. The Knights posted a season-high 48 shots in the 3-3 tie at Brown (11/10) … Greg Lewis has started 10 games this season, including the last six. Through 11 games, he posts a .897 save percentage and a 2.85 goals against average … Clarkson’s last 10 goals have all been scored by a different Golden Knight ... Former Golden Knight goaltender Any Kostka passed away on November 17, 2012 at the age of 32. Andy played for the Knights from 1999-2000. He was a 2002 graduate of Clarkson with a degree in Chemical Engineering.

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