POTSDAM — It took only 20 good minutes for the Clarkson University men’s hockey team to pick up its first victory in the second half of the season.
The Golden Knights struggled for the first two periods but controlled the third and edged Merrimack 3-2 before 2,362 fan in a nonconference game at Cheel Arena Friday night.
Not only did the win snap a four-game winless streak, which saw Clarkson start the 2014 portion of its schedule 0-3-1, it was also Clarkson’s first win over a Hockey East opponent in 11 tries. Clarkson had gone 0-9-1 since defeating Boston College in Cheel Arena in 2008.
The Golden Knights (13-6-2 overall), ranked No. 11 in the nation, were outshot 19-9 in the first two periods by a 4-10-3 Merrimack squad.
But Clarkson outshot the Warriors 10-3 in the final 20 minutes and won the game on a goal from Jeff DiNallo at 7 minutes, 42 seconds of the third period.
Clarkson coach Casey Jones
Clarkson came out strong right from the start of the third period and DiNallo’s goal was an example of the team’s work ethic in the final 20 minutes as it came on the third rebound of a shot originally taken by Kevin Tansey.
Even though the footage from the first two periods probably wouldn’t make a Clarkson season highlight film, the Golden Knights did have a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Clarkson didn’t have many chances in the first half of the first period, but Merrimack’s Kyle Singleton was called for holding with about five minutes to play in the period.
The Warriors couldn’t touch the puck to get a whistle stop and Jarrett Burton wound up scoring the first goal for Clarkson at 15 minutes, 14 seconds of the period before the power play could begin.
AfterBurton’s goal Clarkson got to start its power play and 24 seconds into it Paul Geiger put the Golden Knights up 2-0 with a goal on a shot from inside the blue line.
Merrimack got back into the game with a power-play goal from Brian Christie with 10.2 seconds left in the first period and the Warriors tied the game 2-2 when Josh Myers scored at 4:14 of the second period.
Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy
NOTES: Jones gave freshman goalie Ville Runola, a native of Raisio, Finland, his first career start Friday and he stopped 20 of 22 shots (.909). Jones said Runola competes hard in practice and has impressed teammates with his work ethic. Merrimack’s starting goalie, Rasmus Tirronen, is from Espoo, Finland. ... Clarkson’s last game against Merrimack, prior to Friday, was on Jan. 20, 1989, and the Golden Knights last win over Merrimack came on Nov. 20, 1970. ... Clarkson’s Joe Zarbo missed his second straight game due to illness.