Atkinson's Hat Trick Lifts Men's Ice Hockey To 4-2 ECAC Hockey Win Against Clarkson

HAMDEN, Conn. - Senior assistant captain Mike Atkinson's (Sparta, N.J.) hat trick helped Quinnipiac to a 4-2 win against Clarkson University for its first ECAC Hockey win of the 2009-10 season. The Bobcats improve to 5-1-0 overall including a 2-0-0 mark at home. The last time Quinnipiac won five of their first six games was the 2000-01 season. Clarkson drops to 3-5-0 overall and 0-1-0 in ECAC Hockey play.

"It's nice to get league wins and put points up early," head coach Rand Pecknold said. "But what's more important is winning at home. If we establish that, we'll be in good shape. This was a good college hockey game. I don't think it was a great one. We were lucky to get two points tonight, but Dan Clarke played well and Mike Atkinson's hat trick was great."

Atkinson scored two shorthanded goals, one in the second period and one in the third, to give Quinnipiac a 3-2 lead. He added an empty-net goal with less than 20 seconds to play that gave him the hat trick. The last Quinnipiac player to score two shorthanded goals in a game was Brandon Wong against Bentley on Feb. 6, 2007 in a 6-1 win.

"I take a lot of pride in playing on the penalty-kill unit, " Atkinson said. "I take it very personal actually. It's a job for me and everyone on the PK. We don't get to play during the power play, so it's a great opportunity to make a difference."

In goal, sophomore Dan Clarke (Belleville, Ont.) stopped 34 shots, including 13 down the stretch to preserve the win. His counterpart, Clarkson's Richie LaVeau, finished with 27 saves in the game.

Eric Lampe (Madison, Wisc.) put the Bobcats out in front with his team-leading fifth goal of the season midway through the first period. Scott Zurevinski (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) passed from center ice to Lampe on the left flank, allowing the senior center to split two defenders and go one-on-one with the goalie. Lampe skated in and deposited a shot over Richie LeVeau's left shoulder to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead. The assist was Zurevinski's fourth of the season.

Quinnipiac took its 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Coming out of the first break, Clarkson scored twice in the first seven minutes of the period on goals by Scott Freeman and Adam Pawlick. Freeman's goal tied the game, with assists going to Brandon DeFazio and Louke Oakley. Oakley picked up another assist when he set-up Pawlick with a power-play goal at the seven-minute mark.

With the Bobcats playing a man-down, Clarkson turned the puck over in the neutral zone where it was picked up by Atkinson. Atkinson blasted past the Golden Knights' back-check and ripped a shot, bar-down, to tie the game at 2-2.

Atkinson scored his second shorthanded goal of the game with less than eight minutes to play in regulation to give Quinnipiac a 3-2 lead. Atkinson picked up a loose puck in the Quinnipiac zone, and maneuvered around the Clarkson defense until he was one-on-one with LaVeau. Atkinson made a puck to his left and brought the puck back bringing the sophomore goalie off his angle. Atkinson then slipped the puck between LaVeau's pads to give Quinnipiac a one-goal lead.

"I made a move on the first defender," Atkinson explained. "And then the second defender fell. I poked the puck out in the open and was one-on-one. I was lucky enough that no one else was there."

The Bobcats will host St. Lawrence on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 4 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center on the York Hill Campus of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. The Bobcats then host Harvard on Friday, Nov. 13 in a game that can be viewed on the New England Sports Network (NESN) at 7:37 p.m. Quinnipiac closes out their four-game homestand against Dartmouth on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.