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Clarkson gets the best of St. Lawrence

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CANTON — The Clarkson University hockey team once again got the best of its north country rival, this time from the start.

While the Golden Knights took the initiative early and often this time, St. Lawrence University didn’t give itself much of a chance in the early going, which proved costly.

In a contrast of starts, Will Frederick scored two goals in the first period and had a assist and Joe Zarbo scored a breakaway goal in the second to propel the Golden Knights past the Saints, 4-1 on Wednesday in an ECAC Hockey encounter at Appleton Arena.

Clarkson continued its recent mastery of St. Lawrence by winning its fifth consecutive league game against the Saints.

“I thought we had a great start and that’s what we really needed,” said Clarkson coach Casey Jones, whose team has won six of its past seven meetings with St. Lawrence. “We worked real hard and did a good job shutting them down.”

The effort led to a much-needed league win for the Golden Knights (3-7-5, 3-3-1), who bounced back after a pair of one-goal losses last weekend at Cornell and Colgate.

“It was a good start for our team,” Frederick said. “This is the way we want to come out of the gate on the road, so to get the upper hand like this is big. We’re fighting for every point we can get right now, so this is a big win for us.”

Conversely, the Saints (7-6-2, 1-4-2), who were denied the program’s 1,000th victory, didn’t put up much of a fight in the first period against the Golden Knights, who set the tempo and had the better of the play early on.

“We were terrible in the first period,” said St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel, whose team contines to struggle in league play. “They played very hard in the first period, were very aggressive and we weren’t ready to compete.”

Goalie Greg Lewis made 34 saves to earn the win for Clarkson, which held the Saints’ top two leading scorers — Kyle Flanagan and Greg Carey without a goal — with the freshman goalie stopping a breakaway bid by Kyle Flanagan.

“We really made it tough for them to get pucks through,” Lewis said. “I think we did a good job against them because they came out stronger in the second. We did a good job of keeping their shots on the outside.”

Frederick struck first as bearing down on left wing, he knocked his own rebound past goalie Matt Weninger six minutes and one second into the game.

Clarkson led 2-0 as Frederick deflected in defenseman Andrew Himelson’s drive from the deep left point at 15:54.

“I think we came out flying and were ready to go,” Zarbo said. “We got a quick lead and went from there. I think we came out a bit flat in the second period, but we got right back to it and got the momentum back.”

After St. Lawrence responded with better energy in the second period, Zarbo followed with his breakaway goal at 12:19 of the middle period as Clarkson built a 3-0 advantage.

“They dominated the first period,” Carvel said. “We regrouped well, I thought we played real well in the second period, but we missed another open net and then they got that big third goal.”

St. Lawrence didn’t help its cause on the special teams front by going scoreless on its first four power plays, including three in the second period.

“We talked about their power play all week,” Lewis said. “Again, we made it really hard for them to get pucks through and our defense did a really good job on their forwards by being aggressive.”

The Saints broke through with a man-advantage goal 4 1/2 minutes into the third period, but finished 1-for-6 on the power play.

“We were getting a little bit concerned about our penalty killing,” Jones said. “We just weren’t being aggressive enough, so we went back to fundamentals the last couple days. ... I thought we did a good job tonight of getting sticks in lanes, being aggressive and being more assertive in clearing pucks — that’s what we focused on.”

A fortuitous sequence helped St. Lawrence draw to within 3-1 as defensemen George Hughes was credited with a power-play goal as his shot caromed off the back boards and then off a Clarkson defensemen and past Lewis 4:27 into the third.

St. Lawrence continues to struggle to find consistency, as although it lost two consecutive games for the first time this season, it was dealt its five loss in nine games (2-5-2) since opening league play in early November.

“This was a real tough one,” Saints goalie Matt Weninger (27 saves) said. “They seem to have our number and we’ve got to find a way to play with more consistency.”

The two teams will meet for the second time in four games in a nonconference game at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the historic Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid.

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