POTSDAM — The Clarkson University men’s hockey team came into a four-game homestand with a three-point lead in first place in the ECAC Hockey standings.
After a 2-2 tie with Brown before 3,194 fans Saturday night at Cheel Arena the Golden Knights find themselves concluding the homestand in second place in the conference standings, one point behind Cornell.
Clarkson tied Harvard 6-6 and lost 3-2 to Dartmouth last weekend and beat Yale 4-1 before tying Brown on Saturday in a game that concluded the school’s annual Cold Out/Gold Out alumni weekend.
Clarkson (19-4-3 overall, 11-1-2) controlled most of the game and outshot the Bears 37-25, but had trouble converting on scoring chances and also went 0-for-3 on the power play, averaging just two shots on goal in their man-up chances.
“I thought (Brown) played hard,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “I thought we kind of let off the gas pedal a little bit. I was concerned going into the weekend with our energy level, for back-to-back (games), with (illness). I didn’t think we were as mentally tough as we needed to be tonight to grind out a win. It’s hard to win games this time of year. It comes down to one-on-one battles and persevering through tough situations. We lose a special teams battle and it’s a tie game.
“We’re not playing great hockey right now. We’re not playing poor, but we’re not playing where we need to get to here down the stretch. We have some work to do this week to get focused as to how we have to play to win games.”
The Golden Knights struck first on a goal from freshman Josh Dickinson at 9 minutes, 20 seconds of the opening period.
Dickinson was positioned near the crease and put in the rebound of a shot from freshman defenseman Jere Astren. Sophomore Haralds Egle also assisted on the play.
“Haralds was just going to the net, protecting the puck and got it back to the point,” Dickinson said. “Jere threw it to the net. I just kicked it to myself and tapped it in for the goal.”
Egle was called for slashing at 13:31 of the opening period and Brown (6-12-4, 5-10-1) capitalized with a power-play goal from Sam Lafferty at 14:37. Lafferty was level with the goal line when he attempted the shot.
Clarkson regained the lead early in the second period on a two-on-zero breakaway with senior captain Nic Pierog and freshman Jack Jacome at 1:44.
Pierog reached a loose puck near the boards and sent a quick pass to Jacome, who beat Brown goalie Luke Kania with a wrist shot for his sixth goal this season.
“I think there was just at turnover at the red line and we kind of skated in,” said Pierog, who normally doesn’t play shifts at the same time as Jacome. “I saw there was a back-checker coming, backside, but we had a two-on-zero on the goalie so I just dished it over and gave Jack a different angle. We all have good chemistry on the team, so I think it’s pretty easy to play with other guys.”
The Bears came back early in the third period, tying the game 2-2 on a goal from Tony Stillwell at 5:10. Stillwell one-timed a pass from Zach Giuttari from the circle on the tying goal.
Clarkson had a chance to win the game late when Brown’s Max Gottlieb was called for tripping at 18:40 of the third period.
The Golden Knights staged several chances to score, taking four shots on goal during the power play, which carried over into the first 40 seconds of overtime.
“I thought inside the last 10 minutes of the game there was an urgency to us,” Jones said. “We got after it. We got some good shifts out of (Brett Gervais’) line and got going down low. We had some chances, but we were clawing away trying to get it. We couldn’t get the game-winner.”
Clarkson will make its longest conference road trip of the season this coming weekend, playing at Quinnipiac on Friday and Princeton on Saturday.
“It’s nice to go on the road, you get bus trips with the team and team bonding that way,” Pierog said. “It will be good to see how the team does on the road.”