Freshman left wing Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) scored on the power play midway through the third period for the game-winning goal as the #2-ranked Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team defeated third-ranked Cornell University 2-1 in ECAC Hockey action before 751 fans at Cheel Arena on Friday night.
The Golden Knights, who won their fifth straight, improved their record to 13-2 overall and to 7-0 in the conference. Clarkson, which is a perfect 8-0 at home this season, hosts Colgate tomorrow in a 3:00 p.m. faceoff in Potsdam.
In an evenly played game between two of the top teams in the nation, the Knights were able to capitalize late in the final power play of the contest to gain the victory. With 28 seconds remaining in the Green and Gold’s ninth man-advantage opportunity of the night, MacAulay picked up a cross-crease pass from junior Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE) and lifted in her fourth goal of the season at 12:03 of the third period. Junior defenseman Vanessa Plante (Riviere-du-Loup, QUE) also assisted.
Clarkson, with four power plays in the first period, enjoyed the better of the play in the opening stanza outshooting the Big Red 10-5. The Knights’ best scoring opportunity came midway through the first power play when senior Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT) fired a shot from right in front, but was turned away by a big save from Cornell’s Lauren Slebodnick at the five-minute mark. Clarkson, which block 10 shots in the first period, held the Big Red without a shot on goal through the game’s opening 10 minutes.
The teams traded goals in a three-minute span in the middle frame to make it a 1-1 game through 40 minutes. Clarkson struck first when junior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) knocked in a rebound at the top of the crease off a shot by classmate Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) at 5:24 for her fourth goal of the season. Senior defenseman Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB) set up the play with a pass from the left circle.
Cornell came back at 8:23 during a 4-on-4 situation. Lauriane Rougeau was credited with the Big Red’s only goal when her shot from the top of the right circle, deflected in off a skate of Clarkson defender in front and past the Knights’ junior goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT). Erin Barley-Maloney and Alyssa Gagliardi earned assists.
Both teams had opportunities to score the go-ahead goal early in the final frame. Laura Fortino had the Big Red’s best chance with a shot in close, but was denied by Howe. The Knights came right back with a break-away opportunity by Gagnon, but was turned away by a pad save from Slebodnick.
Both teams had 30 shots on goal. Howe, who has not allowed more than one goal in each of the past five games, finished with 29 saves, including 12 in both the second and third periods. Slebodnick made 28 saves for Cornell.
Clarkson went 1-of-9 on the power play and shut down the Big Red’s three man-advantage opportunities.
Cornell, which has lost consecutive games for the first time since early January 2010, will play at St. Lawrence on Saturday afternoon. The Big Red stand at 9-3 overall and 7-2 in ECAC Hockey