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Clarkson Clinches Bye In ECAC Hockey Playoffs

Clarkson's special teams shined and Frank Marotte (Longueuil, QUE) made some key saves, allowing the Golden Knights to complete a weekend sweep on the road with Saturday's 3-1 victory at Princeton. Clarkson, which knocked off Quinnipiac 3-2 in Hamden, CT on Friday, is on a season-long five-game winning streak and has clinched a first-round bye in the ECAC playoffs and a home series in the conference quarterfinals.  With four games remaining in the regular season, the Green and Gold are tied with Cornell atop the conference standings with 30 points on a 15-3 league mark. Ranked 5/7th in the national polls, Clarkson owns a 22-6-2 overall record. The Knights host Harvard and Dartmouth next weekend at Cheel Arena. Marotte made 31 saves, including 14 stops in a scoreless first period, to backstop Clarkson to its first win at Princeton since February 8, 2014. Sophomores Josh Dunne (O'Fallon, MO) and defenseman Brian Hurley (Dellwood, MN) tallied second-period power-play goals and junior defenseman Connor McCarthy (LaSalle, QUE) scored in the third period to provide the offense. Clarkson was 2-of-3 on the man-advantage and killed off all three of the home team's power plays. Both teams had one power play and opportunities to score at even strength through the opening 20 minutes, but could not get on the scoreboard. In the middle frame, Clarkson's power play came alive.  As the Golden Knights were able to establish possession in the offensive zone, McCarthy slid the puck to junior Zach Tsekos (Montreal, QUE) at the left point.  Tsekos guided the puck through traffic and on net, where Dunne gained inside position and tapped a rebound past Tiger goaltender Jeremie Forget for a 1-0 Golden Knight lead at 8:15. A little more than 13 minutes later, Clarkson's power play would strike again. Junior Jack Jacome (Caledon, ONT) made a tap pass to sophomore Adam Tisdale (Cochrane, ALB) in the right wing circle.  Tisdale had freshman Mathieu Gosselin (Quebec City, QUE) parked at the back post, but chose to move the puck to Hurley at the top of the left circle where scored his second goal of the year at 15:36.  Strengthened by those two power plays, Clarkson outshot Princeton 12-6 in the second stanza and led 2-0 after 40 minutes of action. An early score in the third period with Jeremy Germain connecting saw Princeton creep to within 2-1 with almost 18 minutes still to play.  However, the Knights responded with a couple of good shifts.  Senior defenseman Shane Kuzmeski (Grayslake, IL) hit the post from the left point then Marotte stopped a blueline in breakaway to keep the game at 2-1. The Golden Knights put the contest away at 12:26 when McCarthy won a race to a loose puck in the right corner, controlled it along the boards and stepped to the top of the left wing circle.  He then put a wrist past the glove of the goalie for his ninth score of the campaign, giving Clarkson a two-goal cushion. Neither team dented the twine after, and Clarkson skated off with its 10th win of the New Year The Green and Gold are 21-6-2 overall, 15-3-0 in the ECAC and remain tied for the top spot in the conference.

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