POTSDAM Friday nights ECAC Hockey contest against Brown University was another frustrating and confusing home game for the Clarkson University mens hockey team.
Clarkson fell 3-2 to the Bears before 2,121 fans, giving the Golden Knights four straight losses at home and dropping Clarksons record in Cheel Arena to 1-7-1 this season, 1-8-1 if the teams exhibition defeat to Carleton University is included.
The Golden Knights led twice in Fridays game, but never could get a two-goal lead against the Bears (5-6-4 overall, 1-3-4 ECAC Hockey). And Clarkson again struggled on offense, producing two or fewer goals for a fourth straight game.
Were having a hard time generating offense right now, Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. Every mistake we make is magnified because we have trouble scoring goals. We have to get ourselves in dirty areas and do some simple things to try to generate some offense. Were trying to evolve. In December, with the St. Lawrence games, I thought we were starting to create something and do some things. Now were gripping the stick and doing some things I had not seen in a while. We have to persevere and get through this.
The Golden Knights (4-11-5, 3-4-1) started well when Matt Zarbo scored just 2 minutes, 3 seconds into the game on a shot from along the boards that hit the glove of Brown goalie Anthony Borelli, who grew up around the corner from Zarbo in Grand Island, and trickled into the net.
Everyone was pretty excited, Zarbo said. We jumped out to the early lead and thats what youre looking for. But it did not turn out the way we wanted it to. Its important to try to put teams away, and we havent been able to do that this year.
Brown answered the goal when Ryan Jacobson got a pass from Mark Naclerio and put the shot into an open corner of the net at 7:47 of the first period.
Its a tough one because that first (Clarkson goal) is squirrely, said Browns coach Brendan Whittet. Nine out of 10 times thats not going in the net at all. With a young group, a fragile group, a team that had not won a game, even though its the first shift, that can crush a team. Our guys battled back really hard. As the game progressively wore on, I thought we got a lot better.
Defenseman Sam Labrecque scored on a quick pass from behind the goal line from Jeff DiNallo to give Clarkson a 2-1 lead at 11:54 of the first period, but the Bears responded with a second goal from Jacobson at 17:41 of the first period, on the only power play of the game, to tie the score 2-2.
I got some lucky bounces, which is nice, Jacobson said. Ive been in a little bit of a slump. Those were great passes. I just tapped them in.
Late in the second period, Brown began to take control of the game and kept the puck in Clarksons zone for most of the final three minutes, finally scoring with 45.4 seconds left on a shot from Matt Harlow to close out the scoring.
The goal came just after a faceoff. Jones was trying to make a line change but was denied by the officials, even though the home team is supposed to get the final change.
I was really disappointed at that stage of the game that he wouldnt afford me a line change, Jones said of one of the officials. I thought (Brown) had momentum at that point and time of the game. That was the stage of the game where they had a good push and we were trying to survive.