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Merrimack comes from behind to beat No. 17 Clarkson
POTSDAM, N.Y. — Merrimack head coach Scott Borek felt like his team was doing everything right through two periods last night against Clarkson, the Warriors just didn’t have the lead.
That was quickly rectified once the puck dropped for the final 20 minutes.
Matt Copponi’s first goal of the season tied the game at the 1:41 mark of the third period and Tristan Crozier’s power-play goal at the 9:20 mark was the game-winning tally as the Warriors came from behind to beat Clarkson, 3-2, on Saturday night at Cheel Arena.
Clarkson entered the game ranked No. 17 in both national polls.
After a scoreless first period, the Knights scored at the 4:30 mark of the second period off the stick of Anthony Romano to take a 1-0 lead. Mac Welsher’s first goal of the season tied the game at the midpoint of the second but Ryan Taylor gave Clarkson the lead again with just over eight minutes left in the second period.
Merrimack had a 20-18 edge in shots on goal in the first two periods combined, and then the Warriors applied serious pressure in the third period, outshooting Clarkson 13-2.
At even strength, Merrimack outshot Clarkson 28-20.
“At 5-on-5, that was one of the best games we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Borek. “We were safe. We’d chip the puck in, we’d chip the puck out. We had great puck support. Our guys came to play. They weren’t rattled when we went down twice, which is a sign of a veteran group.
“Obviously we had that big power-play goal at the end to take the lead. (Josh Ciocco) coached the power play, so that definitely made me proud.”
The Warriors’ goal came on a five-minute power play in the third period when Clarkson captain Luke Mobley was called for a hitting-from-behind major.
“We got the benefit of a major tonight but I thought we earned that,” Borek said. “(Friday night), I don’t think we were treated fairly. Tonight, the officials did a great job I thought. They communicated well. They did a nice job.”
Zach Bookman picked up his first career point when he assisted on Welsher’s goal.
“He was very mature,” Borek said. “He was good without the puck as well. He bounced back after playing a ton of minutes (Friday) night. I was nervous about that, but he did a good job. Our whole defensive unit played really well, I thought.”
Crozier added his first goal as a Warrior after he picked up his first point in a Merrimack uniform last night when he assisted on Mark Hillier’s goal. Hillier returned the favor with an assist on Crozier’s game-winner.
“His whole line was very good,” Borek said. “(Welsher) played well. (Tyler) Young played well. Tristan was obviously a big part of their success.”
— Merrimack went 24-31 on faceoffs but won several key faceoffs in the final minutes of the game. Several of those wins were off of Crozier’s stick (he went 10-8 on draws).
— Copponi led the Warriors with seven shots on goal (every shot attempt hit the net). Every Warrior attempted at least one shot.
Ed. Note — A version of this story will appear in Sunday’s Eagle Tribune
Merrimack 3, #17 Clarkson 1 at Cheel Arena Merrimack (1-1-0): 0-1-2--3 Clarkson (0-2-0): 0-2-0--2 First Period: None. Second Period: 1. CLK Anthony Roman 1 (Ayrton Martino, Noah Beck), ev, 4:30; 2. MC Mac Welsher 1 (Zach Bookman), ev, 9:27; 3. CLK Ryan Taylor (Anthony Calin, George Grannis_, ev, 11:50. Third Period: 4. MC Matt Copponi 1 (Alex Jefferies, Otto Leppanen), ev, 1:41; 5. MC Tristan Crozier 1 (Ben Brar, Mark Hillier), pp, 9:20. Shots: MC 9-11-13--33; CLK 5-13-2--20 Saves: MC Borgiel (60:00) 18/20; CLK Haider (58:23) 30/33 Power Play: MC 1 for 3; CLK 0 for 1 Faceoffs: 31-24 Clarkson Attendance: 2,200 (4,200)