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Clarkson crowns Queens 6-2 in exhibition game

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By CAP CAREY

POTSDAM — A 14-day layoff for Thanksgiving break didn’t hamper the Clarkson University men’s hockey team, which defeated Queens University 6-2 before 1,610 fans in an exhibition game Sunday at Cheel Arena.

Clarkson (10-3-1) last played on Nov. 16 when it fell 4-3 to Colgate. The Golden Knights had the past two weekends off and don’t play their next regular-season game until Friday night when they host rival St. Lawrence University.

“We certainly didn’t want to have three weeks off heading into the St. Lawrence series,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “That’s why it was a tough time to have an exhibition game, but I thank their coach (Brett Gibson). They had a couple games this weekend. I appreciate him fitting that in for us. I thought we were sloppy early, that’s what I didn’t want to have next weekend with a team that’s been playing, and playing well.”

Queens (10-1-5), based in Kingston, Ont., was not a soft opponent. The Gaels had not lost a game, except in shootouts, until Sunday and had a 2-1 exhibition win over the Rochester Institute of Technology earlier in the season.

“I thought we got a slow start, but that’s to be expected with a couple of weeks off,” Clarkson captain Ben Sexton said. “They are a good team. I thought our power play clicked. They play a little bit different system than we are used too. Their (defenders) kind of back off the line a little bit, which created a little bit for us offensively.”

The exhibition game gave Jones a chance to put some players in his lineup who had not played this season.

Freshman goalie Ville Runola earned his first start and stopped 15 of 17 shots. Senior Mike Garlasco played for the first time this season and freshman defenseman Bryan Sinz also got his first opportunity to play.

“I thought Bryan did a good job moving pucks tonight,” Jones said. “He advanced pucks to the forwards through the neutral zone. We’re trying to play fast and go north with it. I thought he played well. It was an opportunity for him to get in the game and get a taste of the college experience. He works hard. We’re trying to make sure that you get those guys that have that commitment and work hard. He’s one of those guys. The guys that played tonight, they earned it.

“I thought Ville did well tonight, he made a great save right off the first shift there, They probably helped him get into the game.”

Queens, playing its third game of the weekend, scored the first goal on a shot from Jordan Soquila at 7 minutes, 22 seconds of the first period.

Clarkson answered with an unassisted goal from sophomore Jeff DiNallo, who has been working his way into more of a role with the team of late, at 12:33 of the first period.

“We have him on our power-play now because, five-on-five, he was one of our more productive guys,” Jones said. “A special-teams position has got to be an earned position. I thought he’s worked himself on offensively. He’s making plays and he’s creative and protects pucks. He’s moving guys aside, which is what you want to see in your lineup.”

DiNallo picked up an assist on Clarkson’s second goal, scored on a shot from inside the blue line by Sinz at 9:15 of the second period.

“It felt really good to get out there finally and get a chance to try and work my way into the lineup,” Sinz said. “It felt great (to score). I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I saw the opening so I shot and hoped it went in.”

“Any time you see teammates succeed it’s awesome,” Sexton said. “(Sinz) is a guy that’s come to the rink with a purpose every day.”

Sexton scored from Allan McPherson to give Clarkson a 3-1 lead at 12:24 of the second period and then DiNallo scored his second goal at 14;43 to put the Golden Knights up 4-1.

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