Photo via Jack Lyons ’17
If you happened to miss the season series between the Skating Saints and the Clarkson Golden Knights, you are in luck. This weekend, March 11th-13th, these rivals hit the ice to battle in a best-of-three playoff series for a spot in the ECAC championship tournament held in Lake Placid the following weekend.
Clarkson took on the Princeton Tigers the previous weekend, sweeping the Tigers in two games, while the Saints earned a bye. During the 2015-16 regular season, the two teams split the season series, with each team winning one game at their home rink.
The ‘Route 11 Rivalry’ hit a milestone earlier this season in November when the two teams played their 200th game against each other at Appleton Arena, with Saints gaining bragging rights after beating the Golden Knights 3-0. Gavin Bayreuther ‘17 netted the first goal of the game 11:03 into the second period. The puck made it to the Saints’ d-man Ben Masella ‘17 at the right point, where he quickly swung the puck over to Bayreuther, who was at the left point. Bayreuther then skated to the middle of the blue line, before shooting a low wrist shot through traffic and between the legs of Clarkson net minder Steve Perry.
The Saints scored again 3:48 into the third period with a goal from the slot scored by Joe Sullivan ‘18. The puck bounced off the boards near the blue line where defenseman Nolan Gluchowski ‘18 made an athletic play to keep the puck in the offense zone. He quickly pushed the puck toward the slot, where it caromed off a Golden Knight defenseman. The puck bounced to Sullivan’s stick and he snipped it top corner to put the Saints up 2-0.
The final Saints tally came eight minutes later at the 11:52 mark of the third period when skating Saint Eric Sweetman ‘17 took a pass from teammate Alex Hagen ‘16 from the sideboards, and one-timed the puck from the point, beating Perry short-side. Clarkson pulled Perry late in the game to try to get one past Saints goalie Kyle Hayton ‘18, but it was to no avail. Hayton got the shutout and the Saints took the 200th meeting.
The second time the Route 11 rivals faced each other, the game took place on a cold January evening. The Golden Knights took advantage of their home ice and took down the Saints 3-1. The Saints got on the board first 19:42 into the first period by Tommy Thompson ‘16. The Saints got a late 2 on 1 and Thompson took a pretty feed from teammate Ryan Lough ‘18 and tapped the puck past Clarkson goalie Greg Lewis. Clarkson answered quickly in the second period scoring at the 2:16 mark. Golden Knight Sam Vigneault scored his first of the night picking up the puck on the weak side of Saints’ Hayton and shooting it before he could get across his crease. Vigneault scored his second, and the eventual game winner, 6:48 into the third, picking up a loose puck that bounced off the end boards and beat Hayton with a shot short side.
The final Clarkson tally came with 54 seconds left in the game when Paul Geiger scored on a Saints empty net. Clarkson prevailed 3-1 and the two teams split the regular season series.
Entering into the playoff series, home ice advantage may prove to be key. The Saints are a comfortable 12-6-0 at home this season, while 5-7-4 on the road. Clarkson is also under 500 on the road, going 5-9-1 in the regular season, while being very successful at home with a record of 15-2-2. The winner of this series moves on to Lake Placid, and will take on the highest remaining seed in the tournament in the semifinal.
There will be a whiteout scheduled for all the games, so St. Lawrence fans are encouraged to wear white. Tickets are regulated by the ECAC for this weekend, and are $6, but the first 100 students who show up for each game get in for free thanks to President Fox and student life