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Clarkson faces Brown in ECAC Hockey first-round series

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POTSDAM — If any ECAC Hockey team should know, it is possible for the No. 10 seed to win a playoff series at the No. 7 seed, it would be Clarkson.

The last two seasons the Golden Knights have been the No. 7 seed, and both times lost a home playoff series to the No. 10 team.

This time around Clarkson (9-18-7 overall, 8-11-3 conference) is the No. 10 seed and will travel to open the league playoffs at No. 7 Brown (11-12-6, 7-9-6).

The best-of-three series at the Meehan Auditorium in Providence, R.I., starts at 7 p.m. Friday. Game 2 is at 7 p.m. Saturday and Game 3, if needed, is at 7 p.m. Sunday.

“I think of all the buildings we could have played in, on the road, that’s probably the best one for us,” Clarkson senior Andrew Himelson said. “It’s not that great of an atmosphere. It may be different for the playoffs. But, traditionally, it’s been a pretty neutral-site feeling.”

Brown ranks 49th out of 59 NCAA Division I schools in home attendance with an average crowd of 1,324. The Bears played to just 53 percent capacity this season.

“They don’t really get that many people,” Clarkson’s Alex Boak said. “If our pep band is going down it will be great. There won’t be that much of an environment there, so we have to create our own energy. Regardless of the venue, we are looking to come out of this weekend and go to the second round.”

Brown went 1-0-1 against the Golden Knights during the regular season.

Clarkson tied the Bears 3-3 at Meehan on Nov. 10 and outshot Brown 48-30. The Golden Knights had 1-0 and 2-1 leads before Brown scored twice to go ahead 3-2. Adam Pawlick scored in the second period to tie the game.

Clarkson also led twice in the game at Cheel Arena on Jan. 11, but wound up losing 3-2 on a goal from Ryan Jacobson in the second period.

“They were close games, but the outcome wasn’t what we wanted in either of them,” Clarkson’s Will Frederick said. “No matter what matchup we had, we are confident going in. We had wins in the top four and wins in the bottom four. We weren’t really concerned with who we were going to play, but how we prepare.” Clarkson enters the postseason on a three-game losing streak, and the Golden Knights did not score a goal last weekend in road games at Rensselaer and Union.

“It’s going to come down to who does the little things well,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “They are a good team on home ice. It’s a situation where we have to progress from last week, bank that and move on. We’ve had close games against them this year. They can skate. They can get pucks into dirty areas on us and they’re going to push us.”

A LOOK BACK

The last time Clarkson played Brown in the ECAC Hockey playoffs, the Golden Knights were led by Erik Cole and Willie Mitchell.

Clarkson swept the Bears in a quarterfinal series at Cheel in 1999, winning the opener, 3-2, in overtime and winning 3-1 the next day to reach the semifinals in Lake Placid. Clarkson went on to win the championship that weekend.

Clarkson has faced Brown 12 times in the ECAC playoffs and has an 11-1 record against the Bears. Brown’s only win against Clarkson game on March 7, 1978, when the Bears won 6-2 in a quarterfinal game at Walker Arena. The teams have never met in a postseason game at Brown.

Clarkson beat Brown 6-2 in the 1993 ECAC championship game in Lake Placid.

WHO IS NEXT?

Should Clarkson win this weekend’s playoff series who would the Golden Knights face next week?

ECAC Hockey re-seeds the tournament each week, so if Clarkson was the only road team to win this weekend, it would automatically face conference champion Quinnipiac in a quarterfinal series next weekend in Hamden, Conn.

If either No. 11 Colgate or No. 12 Harvard also win a series this weekend, then Clarkson would play at No. 2 Rensselaer. If both the Raiders and Crimson won playoff series this weekend, then Clarkson would travel to No. 3 Yale.

The only team Clarkson cannot face next weekend is No. 4 Union.

Sportswriter Cap Carey covers Clarkson University hockey for the Times. He can be reached at ccarey@wdt.net

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