POTSDAM Clarksons final nonconference game of the season was one the Golden Knights would like to forget and one that will impact more than just one game.
UMass-Lowell scored four times in the first 21 minutes of the game and went on to beat Clarkson 6-2 before 2,087 fans at Cheel Arena. Even worse than just losing, Clarkson also lost captain Ben Sexton for Fridays home ECAC Hockey game against Brown after he was given a game disqualification for spearing at 13 minutes, 18 seconds of the third period.
I thought they out-competed us to every puck in the first period, Clarkson coach Casey Jones said of the River Hawks. It was one of those situations where we dug a hole and had to talk about trying to dig ourselves out of it. Their puck presence was better than ours tonight. They won the battles and we got what we deserved tonight.
Clarkson (4-10-5 overall) had a chance to take an early lead when UMass-Lowells Dmitry Sinitsyn was called for holding just 3:20 elapsed.
But, 24 seconds into the power play, UMass-Lowell defenseman Chad Ruhwedel scored a short-handed goal to give the River Hawks (9-7-1) an early lead.
Clarkson led early in Fridays 2-1 loss, but never could get the second goal to put pressure on UMass-Lowell.
The River Hawks did that Saturday, taking a 2-0 lead on a goal from Shayne Thompson at 10:01 of the first period and making it 3-0 at 12:52 when Scott Wilson scored just before UMass-Lowell was about to start a power play.
It was very important, UMass-Lowell coach Norm Bazin said about building on the early goal. They had a good crowd tonight, and whenever you are able to put two or three on the board, it helps a lot.
As if the 3-0 deficit wasnt bad enough for Clarkson, UMass-Lowell scored a fourth goal just 17 seconds into the second when Ruhwedel found Riley Wetmore for a one-timer.
We just didnt stop, Ruhwedel said. We knew what we had to do and stuck to the game plan. That was really important. In an atmosphere like this it is pretty hectic when you get caught behind, especially with that big (train whistle) they have.
Clarkson struggled to recover from the River Hawks fourth goal.
In the end, it was a killer, Clarkson forward Allan McPherson said. We wanted to have a good start in the second period because that first period was so poor. We have to come back from that and be a resilient team. We didnt show that tonight.
You have to keep working at (coming from behind). We clearly didnt. For whatever reason we just didnt wake up until the third period. I couldnt tell you why. Its just a very poor effort and it will be addressed this week.
Wetmore scored again for the River Hawks and 9:10 of the third to give UMass-Lowell a 5-0 lead. Clarkson finally got a goal at 10:51 of the third on a shot from McPherson and cut the deficit to 5-2 with a short-handed goal from Will Frederick at 15:31.
The River Hawks scored a power-play goal at 17:47 on a shot from 17:47 to end the scoring.
Clarkson ends the nonconference portion of its schedule with a 1-7-4 record, but is 3-3-1 in ECAC Hockey and has three straight conference games at home, beginning with Brown and Yale next weekend.
We are still in fifth place in the league and we have a shot at a (first-round) bye and thats what were going to go for, Frederick said. At this point the nonconference schedule really doesnt mean much. Well focus on the ECAC from here on out.