Golden Knights women push for top four ECAC Hockey spot
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - 10:07 pm

Taking a six-game unbeaten streak into the final home games of the regular season, the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team is among the hottest teams in ECAC Hockey as the 2010-11 campaign winds down.

The Golden Knights, guided by third-year head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers and assistant coach Matt Kelly, host traditional league powers Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend in a pair of 3:00 p.m. contests at Cheel Arena.

Saturday’s game against the Big Green is also Senior Day when Clarkson honors the Class of 2011.

With veteran leadership by their five seniors, Lauren Dahm (Baldwinsville, NY), Caitlin Oleksa (Battle Creek, MI), Courtney Olson (Brunswick, GA), Daris Tendler (Verwood, SASK) and Melissa Waldie (Newmarket, ONT), the Knights are challenging for a top four spot in the ECAC Hockey standings.

With five games remaining in the conference slate, the Knights are tied for fifth place in the league with an 8-6-3 mark, one point out of fourth, and has a game in hand over each of the four teams in front of them. Overall, Clarkson owns an 11-13-5 record.

Clarkson’s Class of 2011 has helped the Green and Gold compile 74 victories over the past four years, including a pair of 20+win campaigns. The seniors have made three appearances in the ECAC Hockey playoffs, including a semifinal showing in 2008 and a championship game berth last season, and skated in Clarkson’s first ever NCAA Tournament game in 2010.

Having gone 4-0-2 since January 21, the Knights are playing their best hockey when it matters most. Clarkson came away with a pair of ties at Cheel Arena last weekend, taking the first league point from #2-ranked Cornell this season in a 3-3 draw, and battling to a 2-2 deadlock with Colgate on Saturday. Five Knights scored goals over the weekend, led by freshman Brittany Styner’s (Calgary, ALB) first collegiate tallies with a goal in each contest.

Waldie leads an emerging offense for the Green and Gold with 20 points on 13 goals and seven assists. During its current unbeaten streak Clarkson has combined for 18 goals after scoring just 31 through the first 20 games. Much of the increase in offense can be attributed to the freshman class, which has increased its production as the season has progressed. Rookie Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) is second in scoring with 17 points (4-13).

Freshman Erica Howe (Ottawa, NY) has established herself as a solid Division I goaltender. Playing in 18 games, including starting in every game during the unbeaten streak, Howe posts a .927 save percentage and a 1.87 goals against average en route to a 7-4-4 record, including one shutout.

Ranked 10th in the country, Harvard has also been surging of late, going 7-1 in its last eight games prior to Tuesday’s game in the Beanpot Tournament. The Crimson entered the week with a 13-8-2 overall record and hold down second place in the league with a 12-4-2 ECAC Hockey mark. This past weekend in Cambridge, MA, Harvard split a pair of 3-2 games, losing to Princeton before defeating Quinnipiac.

Dartmouth is also playing its best hockey down the stretch and takes a 15-9 overall record into Friday’s game at St. Lawrence. The Big Green are in third place in the league standings with an 11-7 mark. This past weekend in Hanover, NH, Dartmouth was on opposite ends of a pair of shutouts. On Friday, the Big Green were blanked by Quinnipiac 4-0, but bounced back on Saturday with a 7-0 whitewash of Princeton.