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Clarkson men resume play

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POTSDAM - Refreshed from a 20-day break, the Clarkson University Hockey team will resume action in early January when the Golden Knights play their final out-of-conference games of the season by hosting UMass-Lowell of Hockey East. Guided by second-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy ’00 and Andy Jones, the Knights will face off against the River Hawks in a pair of 7 p.m. games at Cheel Arena on Friday-Saturday.

Clarkson, which last played on Dec. 15 when it opened a six-game home slate in Potsdam with a 3-1 loss to Mercyhurst, stands at 4-8-5 overall and holds a .500 record in the ECAC Hockey standings at 3-3-1 in league play. Led by junior captain Ben Sexton (Kanata, ONT) and senior assistant captain Andrew Himelson (Monroe, NY), the Knights will look to make the most of home-ice advantage in 2013 as they play nine of their next 11 games at Cheel and 13 of the remaining 17 regular-season games in Potsdam. The Green and Gold went just 1-4-1 at Cheel in the 2012 portion of the schedule, but did split their only two ECAC Hockey home games.

The Knights will also look to turn around the close games in their favor after going 1-7-5 in contests that were decided by two goals-or-less in the season’s first half. Clarkson went 0-1-5 in overtime games.

Highlighting the first half of the season for the Knights were a 1-0 shutout over Yale on the road, a 7-2 rout of Princeton at Cheel and a sweep of archrival St. Lawrence. Clarkson skated past the Saints in league play, 4-1 at Appleton Arena in Canton on December 5, and then took down their Route 11 neighbor, 3-1 in non-conference action before a North Country crowd of 5,000 at the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid on December 8.

The Lowell River Hawks, guided by second-year head coach Norm Bazin, return from a 20-day break by hosting Bentley on December 30. The River Hawks entered the break with a 6-7-1 overall record and are tied for eighth in the Hockey East standings with a 3-6-1 conference slate. Lowell takes a two-game winning streak into the Bentley game after a pair of shutouts over two Boston-area rivals.

The River Hawks blanked league foe Northeastern 2-0 at the Tsongas Center on December 8 and then skated past Harvard 5-0 in Cambridge on December 10. In their only other game against an ECAC Hockey opponent this season, the River Hawks defeated Princeton 3-1 in Lowell on November 24. Lowell owns a 3-3 record on the road. The River Hawks, with guidance from associate coach Jason Lammers, reached the finals of the NCAA East Regional last March. Lammers served as a Clarkson assistant coach in 2002-03 and was also an assistant for Ohio State when Casey Jones was on the Buckeyes’ staff.

The Series:

Lowell has won four straight and five of the last six meetings against Clarkson to close the gap in their all-time series, which started with a 10-2 Clarkson win on November 11, 1978, to 11-8 in the Knights’ advantage. In their last meeting, on December 4, 2004, the River Hawks edged the Green and Gold 3-2 at the Tsongas Center in Lowell. On December 3, 2003, in its last game at Cheel Arena, Lowell skated past the Knights 4-2. The River Hawks have won two straight in Potsdam, also defeating Clarkson 3-2 on December 8, 2001. Clarkson’s last win in the series was a 6-4 triumph in Potsdam on December 10, 1999.

Knight Notes:

Three juniors are recording double figures in the point column for the Knights, led by Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) with 15 points on three goals and a team-high 12 assists. McPherson also posts a team-best +9 plus/minus rating … Classmate Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT) is Clarkson’s leading goal scorer with seven and has 13 points. Ben Sexton, who missed the last six games with an injury, has 10 points (4-6) through 11 games. Sexton is expected to be back in the Green and Gold lineup at the start of the New Year … Three players follow with nine points apiece … Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT) leads the Knights’ rookies in scoring with five goals and four assists … Junior Will Frederick (Allison Park, PA) chips in four goals and five assists, while sophomore Patrick Marsh (Oakville, ONT), who scored the Knights’ goal against Mercyhurst, also has nine points, including seven assists … Freshman Paul Geiger (Stouffville, ONT) leads the Clarkson defensemen in scoring with six points (2-4) … The Knights, who are just 1-4-1 at home this season, will certainly have the opportunity to improve upon that record with nine of the next 11 games in Potsdam … After this weekend’s series against the River Hawks, the Knights have only ECAC Hockey games remaining on the schedule … Clarkson has played in 13 games that have been decided by two goals-or-less, going 1-7-5 in those contests … Freshman Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) has seen the bulk of the action in the Clarkson goal. He has played 15 of the first 17 games, including 14 starts. He posts a .908 save percentage and a 2.67 goals against average en route to a 4-6-4 overall record, including one shutout. Lewis was named ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week after turning aside 59 of 61 shots (.967 save%) combined in the Knights’ two victories over St. Lawrence, allowing only one goal in each win. He made a career-high 17 stops in the second period in the 4-1 win at St. Lawrence (12/5) … Senior Cody Rosen (Kingston, ONT) gained his second start of the season in the Clarkson goal against Mercyhurst and played a solid game with 25 saves on 28 shots … The Knights are 2-0-3 when leading after the first period, but 0-3-2 when trailing after the opening 20 minutes, and 3-1 when on top through two periods, but winless (0-6-1) when behind after 40 minutes … Clarkson has registered more than 40 shots in four games this season, including 43 in the last game against Mercyhurst … The Knights have gained more depth up front with the addition of freshman forward T.J. Moor (#15) (Lake St. Louis, MO) to the roster. Moor played in 53 games with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2011-12 recording 37 points on 14 goals and 23 assists … Sophomore defenseman Kevin Tansey (Hammond, ONT) is back at Clarkson for the second semester after missing the opening months of school due to injuries suffered from an assault late this past summer. Tansey is not expected to play this year as he works to regain his strength and hockey conditioning.

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