Saturday, March 17, 2007

Clarkson Advances to ECAC Tourney Final

. Saturday, March 17, 2007

A thrilling finish in the final 41 seconds lifted the Clarkson University Hockey team to a 5-4 victory over Dartmouth on Friday in the semifinal round of the ECAC Hockey League Tournament and into the league’s title game for the 13th time in the storied program's history.

Ranked fifth in the nation, the Golden Knights will battle Quinnipiac in Saturday’s championship game, starting at 8:07 p.m. at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY.
The Bobcats shut out regular season champion St. Lawrence, 4-0, in the other semifinal contest on Friday. The championship game will be broadcast live by CSTV.

Junior Steve Zalewski (New Hartford, NY) capped off the most exciting game of the season for Clarkson, scoring the winning goal with 41 seconds remaining in regulation. Zalewski took a pass off the boards from classmate Shawn Weller (South Glens Falls, NY) and ripped a shot from the left wing that beat Big Green goaltender Mike Devine over the shoulder for his 16th goal of the season, sending the partisan Clarkson crowd of 4,484 into frenzy. Senior defenseman Michael Grenzy (Lockport, NY) also assisted.

The Knights, who own an 18-0-2 record when leading after the second period, were outscored by Dartmouth 3-2 in the final stanza, setting the tone for the exciting finish.

Clarkson displayed its resiliency throughout the contest. Three times, the Green and Gold quickly responded after Dartmouth scored to prevent the Big Green from building any momentum.

Weller opened the scoring 8:28 into the game with his 18th goal of the season. Weller took a pass at the side of the net from junior David Cayer (Longueuil, QUE) and knocked in his own rebound for his ninth power-play marker of the year. Junior Nick Dodge (Oakville, ONT) also assisted.

Dartmouth opened the second, scoring at 8:48 to tie the game, but the Knights answered right back just 36 seconds later to regain the lead. Clarkson’s captain, Dodge scored his 18th goal of the season and 98th career point with assists going to senior Mike Sullivan (Stouffville, ONT) and junior defenseman Grant Clitsome (Gloucester, ONT).

Clarkson’s fourth line connected late in the second to give the Knights’ a 3-1 lead. Sophomore Mike Willemsen (Stittsville, ONT) scored his first goal of the season at 15:39, finishing off a perfect feed in front from classmate Dan Tuttle (Augusta, ME). Senior Max Kolu (Turku, Finland) also assisted.

The Big Green began their third-period rally at 3:38, with Grant Lewis scoring Dartmouth’s second goal. Once again, however, the Knights answered right back with sophomore Chris D’Alvise’s (Mississauga, ONT) goal just 77 seconds later to make it 4-2. D’Alvise deked Devine out of position with a move in front and slid in his 15th goal of the season, finishing off passes from classmate Shea Guthrie (Carleton Place, ONT) and freshman Tim Marks (Brownville, NY).

Dartmouth came right back at 6:16 with T.J. Galiardi’s power-play goal, and then tied it 4-4 with J.T. Wyman scoring at 18:20.

Both teams had 29 shots on goal. Junior David Leggio (Williamsville, NY), the ECACHL’s Goaltender of the Year, finished with 25 saves for the Knights.

Clarkson was 1-of-5 on the power play, while the Big Green were 1-of-3 with the man advantage.