Clarkson, Colgate Finish Strong, Upending Preseason Predictions
CHN Staff Report
Clarkson held Quinnipiac to just 16 shots in regulation, and goalie Steve Perry made four big saves in overtime, as the Golden Knights earned a 1-1 tie with the Bobcats. Clarkson fell just short of a bye in the ECAC playoffs, finishing fifth where it will host Princeton in a first-round, best-of-3 series next weekend.
Quinnipiac finished third and will get the bye.
"I was disappointed with our effort," Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. The Bobcats were coming off an 8-0 win Friday against St. Lawrence. "I thought we were sloppy, had way too many turnovers, and we prepared poorly for the game. .... We've had problems on Saturday nights all year long. We're the best team in the country on Friday nights and we're mediocre on Saturday. If you want to win you need to have passion and emotion."
Clarkson turned around a 6-3 loss earlier in the year in Hamden.
"We managed the puck a lot better than we did down there," Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. "They got more in transition off us than they did tonight. But we did a good job of making them go back for pucks. ... I thought it was a pretty complete game for us.
"All I cared about was gaining some confidence and playing well heading into the playoffs, that was my focal point."
Elsewhere in the ECAC
Cornell's Joel Lowry scored late in overtime as the Big Red rallied for a 3-2 win over rival Harvard. The win, while sending Lynah Rink into a frenzy, also secured the final first-round bye spot in the ECAC playoffs.
Cornell, which was shut out by Dartmouth at home Friday, didn't get on the board until past the midway point of the game, when John McCarron cut into a 2-0 Harvard lead. Freshman Matt Buckles tied it before the end of the period.
Meanwhile, Colgate's win over Dartmouth combined with Quinnipiac's tie, allowed the Raiders to finish second, seven slots higher than preseason polls predicted. On senior night, Colgate started Eric Mihalik in goal and he rewarded coach Don Vaughan with his best start of the season.
“Eric hasn’t played a lot, but has taken on a great leadership role,” Vaughan said. “He has really helped our rookie goalie Charlie Finn, so for him to go out and perform the way he did as the best player on ice.”
The Raiders scored both goals in the third period, from Tylor Spink and Joe Wilson.
“This group has really matured during the season,” Vaughan said. “We knew it would be a process, but the guys bought in early in what we wanted to do and how we were going to do it and we stayed at it.”
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Yale seniors Jesse Root, Gus Young and Kenny Agostino got to celebrate their last home regular-season game with a dominating win. Five different players hit the net and Alex Lyon earned the shutout as the Bulldogs beat Rensselaer, 5-0.
The defending national champs finished sixth in the ECAC and will host Harvard next weekend in a best-of-three playoff series
“It feels good to end the weekend on a positive note,” Lyon said. Yale lost Friday, 2-0, to Union. “We just did a great job. We knew we had to be patient for scoring after last night but it finally came.”
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In Atlantic Hockey: RIT did not get home ice for the Atlantic Hockey playoffs, but it did close out its arena in style. Playing the final game at Ritter Arena, with a new building slated to open next season, the Tigers defeated Canisius, 3-1. Canisius held onto a home-ice slot, and finished seventh.
“Our attention now turns toward the postseason and a strong Sacred Heart team,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “We need to build on the many positives that are there for us and just hit the reset button to get ready for the playoffs.”
Mercyhurst already long had first place wrapped up, but closed out the regular season by knocking Robert Morris out of the league's top four. Redshirt junior goaltender Jordan Tibbett tied a career-high with 48 saves and senior Daniel O'Donoghue scored a pair of goals to lift Mercyhurst to a 5-2 win. Mercyhurst will get the week off, while Robert Morris hosts Army in a best-of-3 series.
And Air Force earned a third seed in the Atlantic Hockey playoffs and a first-round bye with a 4-1 win at Niagara.
“I am really, really proud of the guys,” AFA coach Frank Serratore said. “Niagara is a very difficult team to play against. We were much better tonight than last night and we were much more physical. Our special teams were very good and we got good goaltending from Jason Torf. Things were beginning to spiral downward on us, but our guys hung together. Adversity really tests your character and I am so proud of how the guys banded together and got it done.”
Starting Niagara goaltender Jackson Teichroeb made his fifth straight start in between the pipes, pushing aside 19 Air Force shots, while at the other end Torf made 34 stops.
"The only thing I can say is that I couldn't be more proud of how hard the guys who finished this game worked with the short bench we had," Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. "The guys that stuck with it made a pretty gutsy effort. To outshoot and outplay Air Force the way we did and have nothing to show for it is unfortunate."