POTSDAM — Two-time defending ECAC Hockey Tournament champion Union College rallied with two goals in the final half of the third period to edge Clarkson 4-3 before 2,655 fans in a men's game at Cheel Arena Saturday night.
Clarkson (16-10-2 overall, 9-5 conference) twice looked like it might have a chance at upsetting the No. 4 Dutchmen, who were playing without head coach Rick Bennett, who is serving a four-game suspension after a he was part of a postgame brawl last Saturday in Albany. Union was also missing leading defenseman Mat Bodie, who was suspended for both games this weekend.
The Golden Knights led 2-0 midway through the second period and held a 3-2 lead until there were 10 minutes, 55 seconds left in the contest.
Clarkson coach Casey Jones
The positive for Clarkson was it faced one of the top programs in the country and led for 37 minutes and 27 seconds and trailed only 7:26. Clarkson also outshot the Dutchmen 28-26.
The negative for the Golden Knights was Saturday's game marked the third time in the last nine games where they have led 2-0 in a game and not come away with a victory.
Clarkson's opening goal came just 2 minutes, 16 seconds in when defenseman Paul Geiger scored as he was falling down off passes from Jordan Boucher and Jeff DiNallo.
The Golden Knights extended the lead to 2-0 at 7:13 of the second period on a strange goal. Defenseman Alex Boak took a hard slap shot that hit the helmet of Union goalie Colin Stevens and deflected straight in the air several feel. The puck landed behind Stevens and looked like it may have rolled across the line, but it was awarded to forward Jeff DiNallo who saw the puck fly up, waited for it to land and tapped it in.
Union (17-6-3, 11-3), which had only scored one goal in each of its last two games, both losses, woke up with a spurt in the second period to tie the game 2-2 with goals 35 seconds apart.
Daniel Ciampini scored first for Union at 11:03. Max Novak then scored at 11:38 to tie the game just seconds after Kevin Sullivan stole the puck in Clarkson's zone.
Union assistant coach Joe Dumais
Clarkson blew a 2-0 lead at Cornell's Lynah Rink last Saturday and wound up losing 3-2. This time the Golden Knights handled the adversity a little better, taking a 3-2 lead just 61 seconds into the third period on an unassisted goal by defenseman James Howden.
Novak produced his second game-tying goal of the night at 9:05 of the third period, stealing the puck from behind Clarkson's net and putting a shot past Perry.
Union's game-winner came on a shot from Matt Wilkins at 12:34 of the period.
Saturday's game was likely the last collegiate game in the north country for Union's Matt Hatch, a Massena native who had three shots Saturday and finished with a plus-one rating.