Big win for Dutchmen
Max Novak wasn’t going to let Union lose a third straight time.
Novak scored twice to erase a pair of Clarkson leads, and Matt Wilkins scored the game-winner with 7:26 to go as the fourth-ranked Dutchmen earned a 4-3 ECAC Hockey victory over the No. 15 Golden Knights on Saturday at Cheel Arena.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Dutchmen (11-3 ECACH, 17-6-3 overall). It also vaulted back into first place, one point ahead of idle Quinnipiac.
"It was extremely important, not just to win, but just the way we competed," said Union acting head coach Joe Dumais, who is running the team while head coach Rick Bennett serves a four-game suspension from last Saturday’s Mayor’s Cup fracas. "I thought our guys competed extremely hard. They won a lot of one-on-one battles, and they faced a lot of adversity. It was a very impressive job by our leaders tonight."
The Dutchmen trailed, 2-0, on goals by Paul Geiger in the first period and Jeff DiNallo in the second. But goals 35 seconds apart by Daniel Ciampini, who returned from his one-game suspension, and Novak tied it.
"We had that rush where ‘Ghost’ [Shayne Gostisbehere] made a nice pass to ‘Champ,’ and he had a great shot. That was a big goal to get right after theirs," Novak said. "On my goal, it was just good pressure by my line with [Kevin] Sullivan and [Matt] Hatch."
James Howden gave Clarkson (8-5, 16-10-2) a 3-2 lead 1:01 into the third period. Novak drew a tripping penalty on Geiger at 8:50, and 15 seconds later, he scored the power-play goal to tie it.
"Max played a heck of a game," Dumais said. "He was all over the ice defensively and offensively. He’s another leader for us. He doesn’t wear a letter, but he’s definitely a leader in the locker room and he proved it tonight."
The power-play goal was Union's first in its last 13 chances.
Wilkins got the game-winner when he fired home a shot after Charlie Vasaturo sent the puck off the backboards, and the carom came out perfectly in front of the net.
"It was huge for him," Dumais said. "Matt's been a little frustrated, been snake-bitten lately. To fight through this game, for him, was impressive, and he finally got rewarded with a goal."
Eli Lichtenwald, who was suspended, was eligible to return. However, he has an undisclosed injury and didn’t make the trip.
Cole Ikkala also missed the game with an injury. He blocked two shots during a third-period St. Lawrence power play on Friday.
Union has killed off 23 straight opposition power plays.