Union coach Nate Leaman wasn’t happy with the way the Dutchmen started in the first period Friday against Clarkson, and he was even more upset at how they ended.
The Dutchmen overcame a sluggish opening 20 minutes and battled back to tie the Golden Knights. But that sluggish play returned in overtime as the Knights pulled out a 4-3 ECAC Hockey victory at Cheel Arena.
Shea Guthrie put in the rebound of a Phil Paquet shot at 1:32 of OT to give the Knights (4-6-1 ECACH, 6-13-4) their third straight win. It moved them with a point of the Dutchmen (5-6, 12-10-1) for the eighth and final ECACH tournament first-round home-ice berth. Union fell from seventh to eighth after Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute beat St. Lawrence, 7-6, in OT.
The Dutchmen were fortunate to get the game to overtime after their lackluster effort in the first period. The Knights took a 3-1 lead, scoring twice in the final minute of the period. Chris D’Alvise scored a power-play goal with 41.4 seconds left, and Bryan Rufenach netted his second goal of the period with eight-tenths of a second remaining.
“I thought it was a good hockey game. I thought we had our chances,” Leaman said. “Unfortunately, we dug ourselves a hole, and we had to battle back the whole game. They got the last chance, and they put it in. Credit to them.
“I didn’t feel we were ready to play the first period, and I guess the coach has to take the blame for that. We looked like we were still in out hotel beds.”
The players realize that it is their fault, not Leaman’s.
“The whole first period was unacceptable,” said Union forward Jason Walters, who scored twice. “We didn’t play very well. We didn’t come out of the gates like we were ready to go.”
There wasn’t any panic in the locker room after the way the first period ended because there were still 40 minutes to play.
Slowly, the Dutchmen started to take control, and make their comeback.
Adam Presizniuk stole the puck from Clarkson defenseman Mark Borowiecki behind the Knights’ net. He sent the puck to Walters at the top of the right circle. Walters, who scored Union’s first-period goal, fired a wrist shot over goalie Richie LaVeau’s glove with 8:14 left in the second period.
Then, in the third, just as a Dutchmen power play expired, LaVeau stopped a Mario Valery-Trabucco shot from close range, but couldn’t control the rebound. Presizniuk chipped a bouncing puck just over the goal line at 4:01 to tie it.
“I thought the first four to five minutes of the second period, we had some good opportunities to make it a 4-1 game, and we didn’t do that,” Clarkson coach George Roll said. “They come back down and get the second one to make it 3-2. Then, they started to take the play to us.”
In the OT, the Dutchmen reverted to their first-period ways. Borowiecki forced a turnover in the Union zone, and got the puck to Paquet. Goalie Corey Milan stopped the shot, but an open Guthrie was able to put in the rebound.
“The shot got through,” Milan said. “I didn’t control the rebound well. I’d like to have that one back.”
Union 1110 — 3
Clarkson 3001 — 4
First Period — 1, Clarkson, Rufernach 5 (Guthrie, Beca), 4:39. 2, Union, Walters 7 (Valery-Tabucco, Presizniuk), 7:46 (pp). 3, Clarkson, D’Alvise 8 (Paquet, Bellows), 19:19 (pp). 4, Clarkson, Rufenach 6 (Marks, Tuttle), 19:59. Penalties — Guthrie, Cla (contact to head-cross-checking), 7:21; Zajac, Uni (boarding), 17:25.
Second Period — 5, Union, Walters 8 (Presizniuk), 11:46. Penalties — Milnamow, Uni (boarding), 1:39; Cayer, Cla (tripping), 4:05; Morley, Cla (interference), 6:32.
Third Period — 6, Union, Presizniuk 11 (Valery-Trabucco, Cook), 4:01. Penalties — Marshall, Cla (interference), 1:57; Matheson, Uni (tripping), 7:12.
Overtime — 7, Clarkson, Guthrie 5 (Paquet, Borowiecki), 1:32. Penalties — None.
Shots on Goal — Union 10-10-10-0 — 30. Clarkson 9-6-6-1 — 22.
Power-play opportunities — Union 1 of 4; Clarkson 1 of 3.
Goalies — Union, Milan 12-10-1 (22 shots-18 saves). Clarkson, LaVeau 2-1-1 (30-27).
A — 2,227. T — 2:03.
Referees — Mike Baker, Dan Murphy. Linesmen — Marty Demers, Mike Emanatian.