By Warren Kozireski–
Freshman Chris Clack scored at 14:36 of the first overtime to give Clarkson a 3-2 victory over Cornell in the 2019 ECAC championship game held at Herb Brooks Rink in Lake Placid. Both teams will still advance to the NCAA tournament with the Golden Knights a likely second seed and Cornell a third seed. Pairings will be announced Sunday night at 7pm eastern on ESPN-U.
The Big Red jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 7:29 into the game as Noah Bauld scored after a pretty passing play with Brenden Locke.
But Clarkson converted on two consecutive power play chances with junior captain Devin Brosseau netting both; the second after a wonderful backdoor pass from sophomore defenseman Connor McCarthy.
After a scoreless second period, Cornell finally was able to tie the game in the third as sophomore Tristan Mullin redirected a Matt Nuttle shot over the should of the goaltender and under the crossbar with a little over five minutes remaining.
That led to Knack’s game-winner from the doorstep after a pass from tournament Most Valuable Player Brosseau.
The title marks Clarkson’s first conference championship since 2007 and comes one year after they lost in overtime in the final game. It was also their 26th win of the campaign, the most since 1996-97 when they won 27.
“We have talked for a long time that we thought we had something special,” junior goaltender Jake Kielly said after his 29 save performance. “To make a championship team you need so much more than skill, you need guys to gel and things like that.
“Just proving tonight that we were able to pull something off against a really good team like Cornell, a team we hadn’t beaten all year, showed to us how much we can accomplish. We’re excited heading in (to the NCAA’s) and we’ll take whoever we get.”
According to postgame comments, Cornell has lost junior forward Jeff Malott to a severe knee injury while the status of starting goaltender Matthew Galajda is unknown for the NCAA tournament after he left about four minutes into the overtime with a knee injury suffered when the net crashed into the back of his neck.