POTSDAM The Clarkson University mens hockey team took off right from the start and controlled play, earning a 3-2 win over defending national champion Yale before 2,367 in an ECAC Hockey game Friday night at Cheel Arena.
Clarkson (14-7-2 overall, 7-2 conference) dominated the opening moments of the game. Yale (8-4-4, 3-3-3) did not even have its first puck possession in its own offensive zone for the first 108 seconds of the game.
The guys were going from the drop of the puck there, Clarkson goalie Steve Perry said. They did a real good job all night taking care of the defensive zone.
Clarkson got off to a strong start this season, but then stumbled coming back from Christmas break, going 1-4-1 in six games against Hockey East teams. A 4-0 loss at home last Saturday to Merrimack proved inspirational.
After last weekend we wanted to come out and take it to them right way, Clarkson forward A.J. Fossen said. We got pucks to the net with traffic.
The Golden Knights outshot Yale 13-5 in the first period and took a 1-0 lead at 13 minutes, 11 seconds, when Fossen scored on a rebound while falling to the ice. Will Frederick and James de Haas assisted on his goal.
I had to pull it to the backhand and just kept whacking at it and it went in, Fossen said.
After being dominated by Clarkson in the first period Yale responded and tied the game 1-1 when Gus Young scored at 5:34 of the second period.
But the Bulldogs goal didnt stop Clarkson from its inspired play. The Golden Knights outshot Yale 14-6 in the second period and by the end of two periods had won 31 of 42 faceoffs.
We had good energy tonight, Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. I thought we had good jump in our stride and I thought our centers did a phenomenal job inside the faceoff circle to give us puck possession. I thought we won a lot of loose-puck battles tonight, which usually leads to winning a hockey game. I thought we got pucks deep. We maintained puck possession in their zone for a while. It was a good overall effort for us.
Clarkson regained the lead for good when Fossen picked up his second goal of the game at 16:42 of the second period on a rebound of a shot from de Haas.
It was great, Fossen said. (de Haas) is my roommate. We hang out quite a bit. It just shows you what happens when you put pucks on net. They dont have to be bombs or anything.
The two-goal game was big for Fossen because he missed most of last Saturdays loss to Merrimack after earning a game misconduct for facemasking.
In the last game he took the (major) and got kicked out, Jones said of Fossen. But that line (Fossen/Jarrett Burton/Frederick) had five scoring chances before he got kicked out and there was some chemistry there, so we went right back to it. I thought they were good tonight and they had their chances. We walked a lot about having a better shooting mentality. We had a net-front presence mentality. We have to get some rebound goals and we did that tonight. Thats who we are. We had to be hungry out there and score goals and we had to score some ugly ones.
Before Fossens second goal Yale had a chance to take a lead when Kenny Agostino, who had scored a goal in five straight games, got a shorthanded breakaway opportunity. But his shot was blocked by Perry.
I saw we had (Labrecque) right on his back, Perry said. He didnt have an option to do much of anything else, so I took another stop out and luckily I got a piece of it.
Defenseman Kevin Tansey ended the scoring for Clarkson, one-timing a pass from Joe Zarbo at 7:15 of the third period.
Yale cut the lead to 3-2 with a power-play goal from defenseman Rob OGara at 16:21 but never had any solid scoring chances after the goal.
They are a high-offense team and we had to shut that down if we wanted to have a chance to win, de Haas said. It wasnt just the (defensemen). The forwards helped out in the D zone a lot. It was an all-around team effort to shut them down.
Said Bulldogs coach Keith Allain, They played a lot better than we did. They were quicker than we were and they fought harder for loose pucks.