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College hockey: Backed by Kraws, St. Lawrence bounces back to down Clarkson

Jan. 28—CANTON — Credit Ben Kraws and the St. Lawrence men's hockey team with a determined bounce-back win on Saturday night.

Kraws made 22 saves and Tyler Cristall and Drake Burgin each scored a goal in the first period as the Saints turned back Clarkson to record a 2-1 triumph in an ECAC Hockey game before a turnout of 2,826 at Appleton Arena.

St. Lawrence, which improved to 7-13-3, including 5-5-1 in the conference, prevailed after losing at Clarkson, 4-1, on Friday night.

"It was great, a great team win," Kraws said. "We were committed to play the right way the whole game, we played a full 60 minutes which is the way to get it done."

The Saints set the tone early on with a hard-hitting and high-energy level of play, with the Golden Knights countering with a similar level of intensity later in the game.

"It was a huge bounce back, we knew what we had to do," Kraws, a graduate student said. "We didn't execute Friday night, so coming into tonight we knew we had to play our way and that's just what we did."

"I thought we played much better than last night," St. Lawrence coach Brent Brekke said. "I think we did a good job of kind of setting our identity and being in places we needed to be in and just playing our style."

Yet St. Lawrence also displayed a quick-strike capability by generating their two goals within a span of 56 seconds late in the first period.

Tyler Cristall struck first with a tally with 1 minute and 13 seconds remaining in the frame.

Burgin would follow with what would prove to be the game winner by supplying an unassisted goal with 17.9 left in the period.

After allowing three goals within a span of 2 1/2 minutes in the second period Friday's loss, the Saints turned the tables on their archrivals.

"I thought we were much better tonight asserting our aggressiveness and physicality," Brekke said. "And obviously it was different tonight, it was a great environment, so coming back home we knew it was going to give us a little bit of a boost to try and rebound from last night. So I was proud of the guys and the way they responded."

Cristall scored from in close, beating goalie Brady Parker, with Max Dorrington assisting.

Then Burgin converted on a long-range drive from the right point from just inside the blue line with his shot eluding Parker.

"It was good," Burgin, a junior defenseman, said. "I think after yesterday, I think we came back and played better, we played hard and we played gritty, which is what we needed to."

The two goals proved to be the only production the Saints would need on the night as they shut down the Golden Knights for two-plus periods.

"Especially in these games momentum is really important," Cristall, a sophomore winger said. "Like we got those fans going in the first (period), so those goals are good; and then Kraws did a great job of holding the fort and we battled."

Clarkson (13-9-1, 7-3-1) finally broke through offensively on Mathieu Gosselin's goal 5:11 into the third period, with Eric Ciccolini and Tristan Sarsland assisting.

The Golden Knights had a prime opportunity to draw even as they went on the power play right after the tally as the Saints' Will Arquiett was called for charging, but were unable to convert on their final man-advantage of the night a

The Golden Knights later killed off a pair of back-to-back penalties to keep within a goal.

"I think with the third period, I give us a lot of credit for being resilient and sticking with it," Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. "We had a chance there and got a couple looks to tie it, but it is what it is."

Kraws had a steady night, making seven saves in each of the first two periods and then turning aside eight of nine shots faced in the third.

"I felt good, tracking the puck well," Kraws said of his night. "The guys made it pretty easy for me with blocking shots, blocking players out and letting me see the puck. They did well tonight."

"Ben's been great for us," Brekke said. "He made some timely saves even right at the end. There was some stuff around the net, he made some good saves; when it gets a little chaotic he's a calming presence for us."

Parker, who made 19 saves in Friday night's win, finished with 33 stops in the finale of the two-game set.

"It's a tough loss and I don't like the situation right now, but you have to move on," Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. "I thought they had some good jump, I thought they were hungry after last night's loss. And kudos to them, it's a rivalry weekend and they got it done tonight."

Ciccolini led Clarkson on Friday night by recording a natural hat trick as he scored three successive goals within a stretch of 2:22.

"I liked the effort and the fight we put up at the end," Gosselin, who is Clarkson's team captain, said of Saturday's game. "But we've got to start from the puck drop in the first and play well from then."

St. Lawrence has now won three of its past three games with its Route 11 rival, including sweeping the season series last season.

"It's huge, there's a ton of passion in the stands tonight and in our players you could see it," Kraws said. "We were fully committed and played our game the way we wanted to."

By recording the weekend split with Clarkson, St. Lawrence also won for the third time in its past four games — all at home — and is 3-2-1 in league games since returning from the holiday break.

"We're really pumped," Cristall said. "We're 3-1 in our last four, so I think we're rolling, we've got a big weekend against Cornell and Colgate next weekend. So we're just going to bring it and hopefully keep rolling."

Burgin added: "It's exciting, a lot of guys love this Clarkson weekend and it's super big for the team. So to just get a win like that is just super exciting for all the guys here, I think we have a lot of good energy going here."

The Saints also moved up into a tie for sixth place in ECAC Hockey with Brown.

"We talked to our guys just now after the game that I was proud of how we rebounded and we kind of reestablished what we need to be to be successful," Brekke said. "We played our style tonight, but it doesn't get easier, we're on the road at Cornell which is a tough place to play and then we play a good Colgate team. And then we have Quinnipiac coming up, so we'll be playing some real, high-ended talented teams, so we'll be tested once again."

Jones continues to be encouraged by the play of his team, which remains in second place in the conference and has fared 7-4-1 in its past 12 league games.

"It's a battle, it's a battle right now to earn points every weekend," Jones said. "The games are tough to win, but we feel good about where we're at, it was just one of those weekends where we were trying to sweep the weekend. We'll just keep plugging away, but I like the way this team has been playing of late."

Both teams will hit the road next week with games at Cornell and Colgate, with the Saints playing at No. 13-ranked Cornell and the Golden Knights traveling to Colgate, both 7 p.m. starts on Friday.

"Our coach brought up a good point going forward that in the playoffs we'll have to beat the same team twice on two different nights," Gosselin added. "So that's kind of the energy we're going to have to get ready for on those back-to-back nights."