POTSDAM, N.Y. – The Niagara men’s hockey team blanked the Clarkson Golden Knights for the 2-0 victory on Friday evening at Cheel Arena in the first game of the two-set series.
Special teams was the difference in the win over the Golden Knights (0-4-0), as the Purple Eagles (2-2-2) got a powerplay score from Dan Kolenda, while the penalty killing unit killed off five man-disadvantages, including 1:40 worth of 5-on-3 action in the second period. Dan Weiss was a rock in the defensive end, make several key blocks while a man down.
“I was really pleased with our five-on-five play tonight,” head coach Dave Burkholder said. “We took it to them for a lot of the game, but I’m more impressed with our penalty kill. We spent a lot of time in the penalty box, but I thought the guys were blocking shots left and right. I think we had a season-high in blocked shots, guys selling out to keep the zero on the Clarkson side. It was just a very spirited road effort especially after what happened last weekend.”
Carsen Chubak made a career-high 44 saves against the Golden Knights, including 19 in the final period, for his first shutout victory of his career.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes of play, the Purple Eagles capitalized on their first powerplay opportunity of the game at the 11:46 mark of the second period. Divjak shot the puck wide of Lewis and it bounced out to Kolenda who swatted it on net. Lewis made the initial save, but the puck dropped behind him and eventually pushed inside his own net giving Niagara the 1-0 lead.
Heading into the second intermission, Clarkson held a 25-16 advantage in shots.
After killing off the remainder of a penalty whistled at the end of the second period, the NU offense combined for its second goal of the contest. Zanette gave Niagara the two-goal lead a little over three minutes into the final period of play, tallying his first goal of the season with 16:53 on the clock. Iuorio slipped a pass to Zanette from the left corner, who fired a shot from a bad angle over the right shoulder of Lewis.
The Golden Knights amped up the pressure after going down 2-0, registering 19 shots, but the NU defense remained steadfast not giving Carkson the opportunity to stage a comeback. not enough to stage a comeback against the Purps.