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Clarkson men look to regain winning form hosting Saints

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POTSDAM - With archrival St. Lawrence traveling the 10 miles down Route 11 for Saturday’s ECAC Hockey game at Cheel Arena, the Clarkson University men’s hockey team will look to regain the winning form it displayed against the Saints in early December and pick up its first victory of 2013.

Clarkson and St. Lawrence will face off at 7 p.m.

The Golden Knights, guided by second-year head coach Casey Jones and assistants Phil Roy ’00 and Andy Jones, defeated St. Lawrence 4-1 in Canton on December 5 and 3-1 in non-conference play in Lake Placid on December 8. Since then, however, the Green and Gold have struggled and are currently battling through their worst losing skid of the season.

This past weekend, Clarkson saw its losing stretch reach five consecutive games, with all the defeats coming at Cheel. On Friday, the Knights could not hold a pair of first-period leads against Brown as the Bears rallied for a 3-2 victory. On Saturday, 14th-ranked Yale gained a 2-0 advantage in the second period, and held off a late Clarkson comeback to earn a 3-1 win.

Clarkson, which closes out a six-game home stand with Saturday’s game against St. Lawrence, owns a 4-12-5 overall record and is just 1-8-1 at home this season.

With 13 games remaining in the regular season, the Knights are currently tied with Colgate for seventh place in the ECAC Hockey standings with a 3-5-1 league mark. The Green and Gold are four points out of fourth place and one point ahead of Brown, Harvard and St. Lawrence, who are tied for ninth. During its current five-game losing skid, the Knights have been in every game but one, with four of the losses coming by two goals or less.

After taking a lengthy losing stretch into early January, St. Lawrence has regained its footing with two wins over its past three games. The Saints, guided by first-year head coach Greg Carvel, stand at 9-10-2 overall and 2-5-2 in the conference. St. Lawrence split an ECAC Hockey series at Appleton Arena this past weekend, falling to Yale 5-3 before taking down Brown 3-2. St. Lawrence snapped out of a five-game skid on January 5 with a 4-3 win over RIT in Canton for the program’s 1,000th all-time victory. The Saints are 5-4-1 in road games this season.

The Golden Knights hold an overwhelming 118-65-9 series lead against the Saints, which began with a 1-0 Clarkson victory during the 1925-26 campaign. The North Country rivals have played eight times during the regular season in the past three years with the Green and Gold claiming seven victories, including five straight ECAC Hockey triumphs.

Clarkson defeated St. Lawrence in the first two meetings this season, 4-1 in league play Canton on December 12 and 3-1 in non-conference action in Lake Placid on December 8. The Knights swept the ECAC Hockey series from St. Lawrence for the second straight season last year by claiming a 5-3 win at Appleton Arena and 4-3 victory at Cheel Arena. The Saints’ last win in the rivalry was a 4-1 victory at Lake Placid on December 10, 2011.

In 2010-11, Clarkson defeated St. Lawrence three times in one season for the first time since the 2001-02 campaign. The Knights are 21-16-2 against their archrival in games played during the 2000s.

Clarkson owns a 20-6-1 record against the Saints at Cheel Arena. The Saints’ last win in Potsdam was a one-goal victory (4-3) on December 5, 2009.

Will Frederick, who tallied two goals and one assist in the win at Appleton Arena earlier this season, leads the Green and Gold in scoring against the Saints with four goals and three assists through seven games of the rivalry.

Matt Zarbo has a team-high four goals against St. Lawrence and five points in eight games. Adam Pawlick and Andrew Himelson both have a team-high four assists in the series. Simon Bessette has made an impression in his first two games against the Saints with two goals and one assist.

Greg Lewis has started both games in goal against the Saints this season and posts a .967 save percentage and a 1.00 goals against average in the two wins.

KNIGHT KNOTES: Of the Knights’ 12 losses, 10 have been by two goals or less. Overall Clarkson has played in 17 games that have been decided by two goals or less, going 2-10-5 in those close contests … Over their last seven games, the Knights have allowed over three goals in a contest just once … Through the first five games of their current home stand, Clarkson has scored only seven total goals, with the highest output, a pair of two-goal outings … The Green and Gold, who are 1-8-1 at Cheel Arena this season, have been outscored on their home ice 33-21 … After closing out its longest home stand of the season at six games with Saturday’s contest against St. Lawrence, the Knights travel to Harvard and Dartmouth to close out the opening month of 2013. The Green and Gold return to Potsdam on February 1-2, opening a four-game home stand against Colgate and Cornell. Clarkson plays seven of the final 13 regular season games at Cheel … Freshman Greg Lewis (Mars, PA) gave Clarkson a chance to win both games over the weekend, making a combined 62 saves on 67 shots (.925 sv%). He has started 18 games in his first collegiate campaign and posts a .904 save percentage and a 2.81 goals against average … Sophomore defenseman Sam Labrecque (Granby, QUE) and the Zarbo Brothers (Grand Island, NY) accounted for the Clarkson goals this past weekend … On Friday against Brown, Labrecque tallied his third of the year while junior Matt Zarbo netted his second of the season … Sophomore Joe Zarbo scored the Knights’ lone goal against Yale and is tied, along with junior Jarrett Burton (Echo Bay, ONT), for team’s goal-scoring lead with seven … Clarkson’s leading rookie scorer, Pat Megannety (Oakville, ONT) has accounted for an assist in four of the last five games. He has 12 points (5-7) through 21 games … Junior Allan McPherson (Kinburn, ONT) leads the Knights’ offense with 16 points, including a team-high 12 assists. McPherson posts a +11 plus/minus rating … Clarkson is struggling on the power play, having gone the last eight games without scoring on the man-advantage. The Knights, who did not have a power-play opportunity against Brown, are 11-82 (13.4%) overall with the man-advantage … The game against Brown mark the first time a Clarkson opponent did not have a penalty in a game since St. Lawrence was penalty free on March 10, 1962 ... Clarkson is 76.3% (74-97) on the penalty kill ... The Clarkson Men’s Hockey program will hold an Alumni Game on Saturday, beginning at 10:45 am at Cheel Arena.

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