A fast start, solid goaltending and a balanced offensive contribution paced the Clarkson University Hockey team past archrival St. Lawrence 4-1 in a non-league contest on Saturday night before 3,843 North Country fans at Cheel Arena, the fifth largest crowd ever at the 19-year-old building.
Sophomore goaltender Paul Karpowich (Thunder Bay, ONT) turned in a 30-save effort and four different Golden Knights scored goals to highlight the Green and Gold’ s third straight win. Clarkson, at 3-2 overall, travels out west next weekend to battle Minnesota-Duluth in a non-league weekend series.
“I thought that was the best Paul has played this season,” stated Clarkson head coach George Roll. “He just looked sharp all game. Our team was good in front of him, but he certainly made the big stops when we needed them. We worked hard tonight, and when you do that things usually go your way. I thought our goals tonight were timely goals and were generated from our work effort. That second goal killed off their momentum after they had just tied it up. When you compete hard and get to the net, you are going to score those types of goals."
The Knights jumped out to a 3-1 first-period lead in the first of three meetings between the Route 11 rivals.
Clarkson made quick work on its first power play of the game when junior defenseman Bryan Rufenach (Cameron, ONT) tallied his second goal of the season at 3:43 to open the scoring. Rufenach one-timed a pass from sophomore Louke Oakley (Whitby, ONT), connecting on a shot from the right circle. Junior Brandon DeFazio (Oakville, NY) also set up the goal which came just 15 seconds into the man advantage.
St. Lawrence evened the contest at 17:54 as Derek Keller scored on the Saints’ third power-play opportunity of the period. It took the Knights just 17 seconds to regain the lead, however, as sophomore Julien Cayer (Longueuil, QUE) finished off a passing combination from DeFazio and sophomore Nick Tremblay (Candiac, QUE), scoring at the top of the crease at 18:11 for his first goal of the year.
With just 20.1 seconds remaining in the opening stanza, Tremblay took a pass from junior Lauri Tuohimaa (Helsinki, Finland) in the slot and snapped off a quick wrist shot for his first goal of the season, giving the Green and Gold the two-goal advantage heading into the first intermission.
Both teams had excellent chances in the second period to add to their scores with a total of five power plays in the stanza, but Karpowich and the Saints’ Robby Moss were strong in their respective nets. Karpowich posted eight stops in keeping St. Lawrence off the scoreboard on three man-advantage chances. Moss, who entered the game in the second replacing SLU starter Alex Petizian, made 11 saves as the Knights went 0-of-2 on the power play in the middle frame.
Taking advantage of back-to-back St. Lawrence penalties late in the third, Clarkson sealed its second consecutive victory over its North Country neighbor on junior captain Scott Freeman’s (Whitby, ONT) 5-on-3 power-play marker with 6:18 remaining.
Clarkson out shot the Saints 34-31. SLU’s Petizian (8) and Moss (22) combined for 30 saves.
The Knights enjoyed their best outing of the season on the power play, going 3-of-9, and killed off six of St. Lawrence’s seven man-advantage opportunities.