Hanover, NH – It was the 100th all-time meeting of the Big Green and Golden Knights, as Clarkson came into the night with a 67-25-7 advantage. The first period saw a very conservative period from both teams but Clarkson looked like the more sound team. The Golden Knights opened the scoring at nine minutes, 53 seconds of the first as Will Frederick buried his third in as many games on a rebound. It would add to its lead later in the first as Simon Bessette would send a puck to a wide open Matt Zarbo, and Zarbo would score his first of the season. Clarkson left the first period up 2-0.
The second period was entertaining but choppy, as the teams traded power-play opportunities. Dartmouth would score two quick, power-play goals a minute and 11 seconds apart midway through the period, as Opperman would score his first career goal and Neiley would tie the game at two. But as Dartmouth’s season has gone, Clarkson would tie it merely two minutes later as Ben Sexton would score a power-play goal of his own. The Knights led 3-2 going into the third period.
The third period was a stalemate, as Clarkson stifled a desperate Dartmouth offense. The Golden knights held on for the win 3-2. With the win Clarkson improved to 8-2-1 on the season, 2-1-0 in the ECAC, while Dartmouth falls to 0-5-0 and 0-3-0 within the conference.
What I Saw
- The difference in the first period was that Dartmouth didn’t keep the game simple while Clarkson did. It was a tight, defensive first period with only 15 total shots but Clarkson still left the period with a 2-0 lead. It was a tough period of non-opportunistic defensive play for the Big Green, as the Big Green failed to clear a loose puck on the first Golden Knight goal. On the second goal, Dartmouth left a man wide open between the faceoff dots, which most players will bury nine out of ten times. It was just very uncharacteristic of a Bob Gaudet coached team.
- Clarkson was very opportunistic in its offense and seemed to capitalize on most Dartmouth mistakes. When a puck was left in a key scoring area the Golden Knights were able to find the back of the net. Credit Clarkson because they took advantage of a fragile Dartmouth team,
- Dartmouth downright struggled on the defensive side of the ice, as it just seemed to have trouble covering the front of Charles Grant. Dartmouth allowed 16 Grade A opportunities in the first two period, some of the being glorious opportunities with its opponents right on the doorstep. From not covering the slots to struggling along the posts it just seems as though the Big Green are missing a beat defensively. This will have to improve mightily if it looks to resurrect its season going south fast.
What I Thought
- Dartmouth just needs to simplify the game and be more opportunistic on both sides of the puck. They actually played really good for the first nine minutes of the first period. Once Clarkson scored its goal, the Big Green seemed rattled and were never able to recover for the remaining of the first period. Again in the second though, Dartmouth became sloppy in the defensive zone, on more than one occasion leaving a man wide open in the low slot. These mistakes will need to disappear soon.
- Whatever Bob Gaudet said in the Dartmouth dressing room resonated with his players, as the Big Green came out on fire and dominated for the first 13 minutes of the second period. It was able to tie the game on two power-play goals but Clarkson would score moments later to take the lead back. Again, Dartmouth looked rattled and were unable to recover when scored upon. At moments, it just seemed fragile in recovery. Hate to use those words but that is what it seemed.
- Clarkson has the knack of scoring big goals in key spots and tonight was no different. When it seemed like Dartmouth was going to run to a lead with two quick goals midway through the second period, Ben Sexton was able to score on a power-play two minutes later to kill the momentum. It may get missed when the game is over but it was a key goal at a key moment of the hockey game.
What They Said
Clarkson Coach Casey Jones said,
“Power-plays are power-plays but good ones score timely goals. That go ahead goal was an important goal to get the momentum back.”
“We weren’t quite ready to start the second period. It wasn’t as good of a period as the first, where I felt we were very good. But we are still developing and still learning.”
Clarkson captain Ben Sexton said,
“We have grown a lot as a team and we are older. We have been keeping it simple and it has been working for us.”
Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said,
“We battled hard. I thought we had some really good chances. It was a one goal game. Did we make a few mistakes that cost us? Yes, our opposition did the same.”
“We are continuing to work and getting better. Our goal is to get better, to keep battling and to get closer as a team. Those are two things. I love our team and they are working hard. Mistakes are part of the game and that was an experienced, big, strong team that we played tonight.”
What Else You Should Know
Dartmouth will host St. Lawrence on Saturday night and will look to get past its early season struggles. St. Lawrence defeated Defense and simplifying the game has to be on its mind, as it has begun the season 0-5-0. It is a deep hole to climb but Dartmouth is a better team than it has showed in the early going. St Lawrence picked up a win against Harvard on Friday night.
Clarkson will head to Harvard on Saturday night riding a wave. The beginning of its season has been a success that few people would have predicted. On this night, Clarkson was the more opportunistic team that took advantage of an opponent that was lacking confidence on both ends. Harvard lost on Friday night to St. Lawrence.