POTSDAM For the first time this season the Clarkson University mens hockey team and its fans truly enjoyed a home game.
Clarkson routed Princeton 7-2 before 2,313 fans at Cheel Arena in an ECAC Hockey game Saturday night, earning its first home win in five tries this season.
It took way too long, Clarkson freshman Paul Geiger said. It was real nice to get that first (home) win out of the way. The crowd was really good. Im happy all the fans came out after last nights embarrassing loss (5-2 to Quinnipiac).
Clarkson (2-5-1 overall, 2-1-1 conference) pounced on the Tigers early as freshman Todd Christian scored on a rebound just 57 seconds into the game.
We were trying to emphasize getting the first goal, Clarkson junior Allan McPherson said. Weve been playing from behind. Getting the first goal was a huge boost from the boys.
Christian and his linemates, Will Frederick and Jarrett Burton, produced the first three goals of the game for the Golden Knights.
Burton gave Clarkson a 2-0 lead when he scored his sixth goal of the season during a power play at 7 minutes, 1 second of the first period.
Princetons Kyle Rankin cut the lead to 2-1 at 9:07 of the first period, but Clarkson regained a two-goal lead when Frederick put in the rebound of a shot from Geiger at 4:19 of the second period for his first goal of the season.
It felt pretty good, Frederick said. It wasnt for lack of trying. Ive had my chances this year. Im not a goal-scorer by any stretch of the imagination. I try to dig pucks out and get them to (Burton) and Todd. The past three weeks weve had good chemistry. We complement each other pretty well.
After that line gave Clarkson three goals, it was time for the McPherson, Sexton and Megannety line to put on a show.
Ben Sexton scored on a slap shot from between the circles at 8:15 of the second period to make it 4-1 and then McPherson scored a power-play goal at 13:12 to extend the lead to 5-1.
It was nice to score some goals and get some confidence, Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. You could see our confidence grow as the game went on. We are a different team when we can get out to a lead, and it was evident tonight.
Clarkson was in a similar position on Oct. 27 when it scored three quick goals at Cheel Arena against Niagara, but had to settle for a 4-4 tie.
We grew a little bit, McPherson said. We knew we had to work hard and work smart. We didnt give up any stupid penalties.
Said Geiger, Tonight we kept forcing them and got some goals. We gave up (23) shots, but we kept them to the outside. Last night vs. (Quinnipiac) we gave up too many scoring chances.
Geiger scored Clarksons sixth goal at 16:38 of the second period, giving the defenseman a two-game, goal-scoring streak.
Its nice, but its not something you expect, Geiger said. Getting that first goal is big for your confidence. Luckily I got that one through (Friday).
Joe Zarbo ended the scoring for Clarkson with the Golden Knights third power-play goal at 3:42 of the third period. Princetons Aaron Kesselman scored a power-play goal at 11:14.
I think its just one of those games where we were out there bumping into each other, said Princeton coach Bob Prier, a former St. Lawrence University player and assistant coach. We didnt seem to be in sync. Clarkson played well. They were aggressive and in our face and made us hurry a lot of plays.
The only negative for Clarkson was losing two forwards to injury in the third period. Sexton, Clarksons captain, had to be carried off the bench early in the third period, and Patrick Marsh suffered an injury midway through the period.
Well see how that shakes out, Jones said. Right now we dont have any awareness (how serious). Injuries are part of the game. Well have to learn to make due with whoever is hurt.
nNOTES: Clarkson honored its womens volleyball team before the start of Saturdays game. The Golden Knights won 31 games this year and reached the NCAA Division III quarterfinals. ... ECAC Hockey commissioner Steve Hagwell attended Saturdays game. Former SLU coach Joe Marsh, who coached Prier and had him on his staff, also attended Saturdays game.