Sophomore Matthew Gold scored four goals and senior Ryan Cole posted 10 saves as Clarkson knocked off No. 16 St. Lawrence 7-5 in the semifinal round of the Liberty League tournament at Hall-Leet Stadium on Friday.
The Golden Knights, guided by 25th-year head coach Bill Bergan, own a 10-5 overall record and advanced to the conference tournament championship game on Sunday when they face No. 3 RIT.
With Gold sparking the offense and Cole backing up a solid defensive effort, the Knights were able to avenge a 10-3 loss to the Saints on April 10. Clarkson has won two games in a row and three of its last four, with the only set back during that time a 12-6 loss at No. 1 Cortland State.
In a well-played defensive game, Clarkson trailed just once against St. Lawrence, but was able to respond late scoring the last three goals to gain the win and extend its season. The Saints, who struggled throughout the game to win faceoffs, seemed to have swung the momentum in their favor by taking the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter 5-4 with 9:15 left to play.
Clarkson came right back as sophomore Mark Nortz scored on a low rip from through traffic only 1:10 later. Sophomore Dylan Broomfield controlled each of the key faceoffs to help the Knights continue to attack and eventually regain the lead on Gold’s fourth goal of the game with 2:23 to go for the game-winner. Gold beat his defender, scored from just outside the crease, and then was awarded a penalty after the play to give Clarkson a man-up for 1:00 minute.
The Green and Gold were able to run off that penalty, and only seconds after St. Lawrence returned to full strength, senior Jamie Stuhlinger caught the Saints’ goaltender out of position and bounced a shot into the vacated goal to seal Clarkson’s upset with only 1:06 to go. Broomfield won the ensuing faceoff and Clarkson ran out the clock on its semifinal win.
Playing a key role in the Knights’ win, Broomfield dominated at the center X, winning 11-of-16 faceoffs, which gave the Green and Gold key possession time throughout the game. Broomfield also collected a game-high six ground balls.
St. Lawrence closed with a 31-26 lead in shots and a 21-14 advantage in ground balls. Cole, a second-team all-league all-star, posted 10 saves.
The Golden Knights set the tone in the first half, as Gold scored the first goal only 43 seconds into the first quarter and junior Peter Goss made it 2-0 in the final minute of the opening quarter. The Knights’ defense, led by sophomore J.D. St. Croix, junior Rick Clement, junior Brian Freeland, junior Dylan Caldiero and freshman Nicholas Bruno along with the solid play of Cole kept the Saints off the scoreboard until the end of the first half.
St. Lawrence finally got on the scoreboard with 1:38 remaining until halftime. After Gold scored early in the third quarter, St. Lawrence came back with the next two goals to make it a 3-3 game after 45 minutes.
Gold gave Clarkson the lead yet again only 1:45 into the final frame, but the Saints answered back with consecutive goals to take their only lead of the day 5-4 with 9:15 left.
Senior Davey Hovey led St. Lawrence with two goals and an assist, while freshman Jeremy Vautour scored twice and junior Pierson Fowler added one goal.
RIT, which owns a 15-2 overall record, defeated Union 13-7 in the other Liberty League semifinal game on Friday.