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LAKE PLACID N.Y--Third seeded Clarkson and fourth seeded Brown will take the ice tonight to compete for the ECAC Championship and a guaranteed bid to the NCAA tournament.
Brown faces a stiff challenge against a Clarkson team making its mark at exactly the time it wanted to. The Golden Knights, behind a 24-save effort from goalie Chris Rogles, held tough against Rensselaer in the first semifinal game, winning 5-3.
Clarkson took an 3-0 lead with two goals from Craig Conroy and one from Marko Tuomainen. The engineers countered with two, but Hugo Belanger and Guy Sanderson scored Belanger and Guy Sanderson scored at 17:49 and 18:18 of the second period to give Clarkson the victory.
If the knights win tonight (as well they should), they will likely replace Harvard as the third seed in the East in the NCAA tournament, considering their blistering play as of late.
Underrated: Brown said it bad every intention of winning last night's game and that all the talk of it being a heavy underdog was, well, just talk.
Asked about how his team tamed Harvard's speed, junior Chris Kaban (who scored two goals) countered. "I don't think enough people given as credit for our speed."
Coach Bob Gaudet said it was just a matter of good preparation.
"We came in and we wanted to play clean, without any retaliatory penalties," said Gaudet, whose team didn't collect a single penalty in the third period. "They have a good power play. We knew that coming in. I have to give credit to my assistant coaches as well, we wanted to play Drury a bit closer and we did that."
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Pacing: Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni got some exercise tonight. After his post-game comments, Tomassoni stood outside the locker room in the empty. In the grim silence, he paced back and forth, hands in his pockets, eyes scanning the ground and his mind filled with thoughts about what might have been.
He was perhaps taking solace in the face that Harvard won the NCAA championship in 1989, even after it lost in the semifinals of the ECAC tournament to Vermont. Or, more likely, he was contemplating what inspirational speech he would have to conjure up tonight. He's given so many in the past few weeks, this one better be a doozy.
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