But that is not enough to win on the road. As a result, the host Golden Knights ground out a 2-1 nonconference win over the Tigers before a crowd of 2,193 at Cheel Arena.
“We have to be harder to play against,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “We were at the end but it was too little, too late. We need to get more second-effort shots.”
It was Clarkson’s first win over the Tigers in 15 tries dating back to March 1957. The win improved the Golden Knights’ record to 1-11-3 all-time against CC.
“That is really something for the fans and alumni to get more excited about than the current players,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “A win like this gives us a lot of confidence.”
They accomplished the program first with a strong team defense that clogged the passing lanes, mucked up the neutral zone and blocked 10 shots (seven in the first period) to frustrate the Tigers (1-2).
“We made progress as a team in our commitment to defense,” Jones said. “We wanted to disrupt their (CC’s) transition and until the final 10 minutes, we did.”
Colorado College got the break it needed when a shot by freshman wing Zach Aman, playing his first game after an offseason knee injury, was contested by a Clarkson defender. The puck went up a couple feet in the air and then bounced past Golden Knights goalie Greg Lewis, who finished with 20 saves.
That tied the game at 1-1 but Clarkson answered on the power play. Senior Allan McPherson batted a rebound in from mid-air past CC senior goalie Josh Thorimbert to score with 3:53 left in the second period.
It proved to be the eventual game-winner with Thorimbert making three big saves afterward to keep the game within reach. Clarkson generated several odd-man rushes with the Tigers defensemen caught up ice trying to help on offense.
“We were pressing a bit to get shots and we made some bad decisions that led to those,” Owens said. “They didn’t score off them. Josh played a good game and gave us a chance. It was still just a 2-1 game until late.”
A tripping penalty on CC senior Alexander Krushelnyski with 2:40 left in the game hurt the Tigers’ chances, but they still managed one last chance in front with 9.8 seconds left and Thorimbert pulled for the extra attacker.
A bad line change gave Clarkson a three-on-one scoring chance and Pat Megannety cashed in the rebound to stake the hosts to a 1-0 lead.
The goal came after a hard shot by Allan McPherson went off Thorimbert’s leg pad and across the face of the net to Megannety as he skated toward the opposite post.
Clarkson 2, Colorado College 1
Colorado College 0 1 0 –1
Clarkson 1 1 0 — 2
First period – 1, Clarkson, Megannety (McPherson, J. Zarbo) 13:07. Penalties – CC, Krushelnyski, slashing, 19:42.
Second period – 2, Colorado College, Aman (Slavin) 12:20; 3. Clarkson, McPherson (deHaas, Megannety) 16:07 (PP). Penalties – Clarkson, Fossen, boarding, 8:08; CC. McDermott, holding, 14:02; Clarkson, M. Zarbo, hitting from behind, 17:10.
Third period – None. Penalties – CC, Taft, cross-checking, 6:20; CC, Krushelnyski, tripping, 17:20; Clarkson, McPherson, roughing, 20:00.
Power play – CC 0-2, Clarkson 1-4. Shots on goal – CC 6-6-9 – 21; Clarkson 11-11-8 – 30. Saves-minutes – CC, Thorimbert 10-10-8 – 59:22; Clarkson, Lewis 6-5-9-60:00. Referees – St. Lawrence, Baker. Linesmen – Emanatian, Cooke. Attendance – 2,193 (3,000 capacity).
Clarkson learning how to win
Clarkson coach Casey Jones may have been happiest to see how his team held up under the increased CC pressure over the final 10 minutes of the nonconference game.
“We’re still learning how to win as a group,” Jones said of a 5-1-1 team rebounding from last season’s 9-20-7 mark.
That was big step forward for the ECAC program, picked last in the 12-team league in the preseason poll, which looks more inaccurate each weekend.
For the Tigers, they must match the Golden Knights’ hard-nosed play from the start Saturday in hopes of garnering a split in the two-game series. That would be a significant stride for a team that has managed only five goals in three games so far.
“We need to bear down a lot more form the very start,” freshman Zach Aman said. “If we played like we did in the final 10 minutes for all 60, we stand a good chance of winning.”
Tigers rally sparked by face-off wins
Clarkson came into Friday’s nonconference game winning 58.7 percent of its face-offs, a very good percentage. The Golden Knights looked headed to improving on that eye-popping stat after winning 13-of-18 draws in the first period and using that advantage to maintain puck possession against the Tigers. That played a factor in Clarkson’s 30-21 edge in shots, especially a 22-12 edge through the first 40 minutes.
But Colorado College made some adjustments and managed to win the next two periods, 24-21, especially over the final 10 minutes when the team attempted a rally.
“That was a problem for us last year too,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “Our centers got a bit more aggressive on the dot. We need our wings to win more battles.”
Clarkson came close to ending the winless streak last season at World Arena but squandered a two-goal lead to fall 5-4 on Oct. 13, 2012. The games between the programs date back to an NCAA playoff game in March 1957, a 5-3 CC home win. Two other NCAA wins came in 1997 and 1998. … Freshman Jaccob Slavin picked up his third point in as many games with CC, getting the assist on Aman’s goal.
Tigers freshman Zach Aman will play his first game for CC with junior Ian Young and sophomore Russell Finch paired up as the third defenseman duo. Expect a tight series this weekend.
Goalies – Lewis, Perry, Runola
Colorado College (1-1)
Goalies – Thorimbert, Lockwood