SCHENECTADY — Trailing by one heading into the third period against Clarkson, Union needed to come out and apply pressure to the Golden Knights and try to score the tying goal.
Instead, it was the Golden Knights who came out and dominated the first half of the third.
Anthony Callin scored just over five minutes into the period to make it a two-goal Clarkson lead, and the Golden Knights held on for a 4-3 ECAC Hockey victory Saturday before a sellout crowd of 2,245 at Messa Rink.
There was little the Dutchmen (4-9-1 ECACH, 14 points; 9-14-2 overall) could do to stop the Golden Knights’ momentum. Shifts were getting extended, leaving tired players on the ice.
“We talked about it after the game,” Union head coach Josh Hauge said. “You’re down by a goal. You have to have that urgency and fire. I just felt like we didn’t have it until we pulled [goalie Connor Murphy for an extra attacker late in the game]. It was a little bit frustrating that we didn’t have that spark there.”
Asked why that was, Hauge said, “It’s the first time all season we went with the same lineup back-to-back nights, besides the goaltender, obviously. I think maybe for some guys it was a lot of ice time and just handling that. And then I just think they thought it was going to happen, and they didn’t go make it happen.”
The Union players knew that they shouldn’t have let Clarkson (5-5-2, 17 points; 11-10-3 overall) dictate the start of the third.
“I think that was a story of the game that we had the bigger lulls than they did,” said Dutchmen senior captain Owen Farris, who scored with 1:30 left in the game with Murphy out for the extra attacker to pull Union within one. “… The beginning of that third was where we got punished. I think we carried the game a lot of the time. But when you come out like that, it’s difficult to get one back and to get back in the game. We were able to put some fight in at the end, but it’s got to be earlier and often.”
Clarkson head coach Casey Jones was pleased with his team’s effort to start the third.
“We’ve had a hard time holding leads this year,” Jones said. “It’s been a little bit of our Achilles’ heel. To come out in the third period and extend the lead, I liked that.”
The game got off to a wild start as the teams combined for three goals in the opening 1:26.
Ben Tupker took advantage of Clarkson goalie Ethan Haider mishandling the puck in front of the net and scoring 29 seconds in to make it 1-0 Union.
Ben Egan got that one back for the Golden Knights 35 seconds later. Jordan Power gave Clarkson a 2-1 lead 22 seconds after that.
“A lot of the times during our season, we get scored against and sometimes we get let down,” Egan said. “But I thought we kept our head up and we went out there next shift, which was nice, and I was able to score. It’s always good when you go and score after they score.”
Egan scored again early in the second period during a delayed penalty against Union. He had an open net when Union defenseman Mason Snell collided with Murphy, knocking the goalie out of position and unable to stop the shot.
John Prokop got that one back for Union just past the midway point of the second period. He skated from the left point past Clarkson forward Ryan Taylor and went to the net. Prokop put a backhander past Haider for his second goal of the weekend.
“The guy came out to me,” Prokop said. “[Tyler] Watkins made a good pass, and Taylor dropped his knee, so I shifted one way. It was just a breakaway with a huge scrum in front of the net by Liam [Robertson], and I think Chaz [Smedsrud] was there, too. The goalie had no idea where the puck was, so I was fortunate to put it in.”
Nate Hanley wasn’t as fortunate. The Union freshman forward hit the post with a shot from the left circle with 42 seconds left in the game that could have tied it.
“You have a chance right there,” Hauge said. “It’s on your stick and you hit the post.”
Clarkson 2 1 1 — 4
Union 1 1 1 — 3
First Period — 1, Union, Tupker 4, :29. 2, Clarkson, Egan 2, 1:04. 3, Clarkson, Power 2 (Klack, Mobley), 1:26. Penalties — Mell, Uni (kneeing), 16:26.
Second Period — 4, Clarkson, Eagan 3 (Richardson, Bargholtz), 2:29. 5, Union, Prokop 4 (Watkins, Robertson), 11:31. Penalties — Young, Uni (cross-checking), 2:29; Power, Cla (kneeing), 12:09; Nixon, Uni (holding), 14:39; Egan, Cla (slashing), 17:48.
Third Period — 6, Clarkson, Callin 9 (Schmidt-Svejstrup, Campbell), 5:01. 7, Union, Farris 5 (Robertson, Smedsrud), 18:30. Penalties — Klack, Cla (roughing), 6:15; Robertson, Uni (roughing), 6:15; Pasanen, Cla (holding), 14:14.
Shots on Goal — Clarkson 11-5-9 — 25. Union 11-6-9 — 26.
Power-play opportunities — Clarkson 0 of 3; Union 0 of 3.
Goalies —Clarkson, Haider 11-10-2 (26 shots-23 saves).Union, Murphy 7-12-1 (25-21).
A — 2,245. T — 2:23.
Referees — Chris Pitoscia, CJ Hanafin. Linesmen — Patrick Dapuzzo, Adam Wood.