Game one of the Three Rivers Classic had Clarkson University facing the 8th ranked and probably the hottest team in the country, UMass-Lowell. At least they were hot before the month of December started as they came into the month carrying an unbeaten streak of 7-0-2. The River Hawks dropped the a 2-game home and home with UCONN right before this tournament.
The Hawks have 1 player on the roster drafted by an NHL Team and that is Evan Campbell.The Golden Knights of Clarkson came into tonight’s game with a 7-6 record with the 7th ranked penalty kill and were 7-1 record in the non conference. They also sport 4 players that were NHL Draftees: Troy Josephs (Penguins), James DeHaas (Red Wings), Terrance Amarosa (Flyers), and Kelly Summers (Ottawa).
The River Hawks would own most of the opportunities in the first period and would convert their best one as Joe Gambardella would score at the 14:30 mark with a snap shot from between the circles from a sweet feed from Michael Kapla. The goal gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Clarkson would have one really good opportunity in the first period and it would come on a breakaway from Left winger Jordan Boucher but he was not able to finish it off. Remember that name. Clarkson would out shoot Lowell 10-8 in the first, but many of the shots were harmless or with little traffic at the net.
In the second period, UMass-Lowell would take advantage of a 5 on 3 and bury a shot to extend their lead to 2-0. CJ Smith would score the goal at the 14:53 mark of the period. Nearly identical time period as the first goal in the first period. CJ Smith is part of a very talented 3-headed monster that the River Hawks send out nightly, the other two are Joe Gambardella and Adam Chapie. Gambardella scored the first goal for the UMass.
I told you to remember a name, Jordan Boucher would get yet another… even cleaner breakaway opportunity in the second period, but was once again turned away by River Hawks goalie Kevin Boyle. He also would have a follow-up opportunity that was turned away. Boucher supplied Clarkson with their only real opportunity in the second period. The Stretch pass was the only weapon the Golden Knights had all night. Lowell out shot Clarkson 13-7. The River Hawks were 1-3 on power play opportunities in that second period.
The third period was more of the same as the River Hawks controlled play for most of the period. Clarkson would step it up late as they would have a couple of real nice chances with a power play with about 6 minutes left that they could not convert. Then shortly after that a 2 on 1 that was defended perfectly leaving Perry D’Arrisso with only one choice and that was short side, but the shot was instead right on the goalie. It was that kind of night for the Knights. Clarkson really worked hard in the final 2 minutes but the River Hawks were in the way at every turn.
The River Hawks would take the shot lead with 9 second left with an empty netter to finish off Clarkson 3-0. Lowell finished with 26 shots and Clarkson had 25. Clarkson Goalie Steve Perry suffered the loss but did not play poorly. He was left alone a couple of times and it was those moments that the River Hawks took advantage of.
The River Hawks will now play the winner of Game two tonight, Robert Morris and Penn State. Clarkson will play in the consolation game tomorrow afternoon against the loser of the second game.