Playing in its first ever outdoor game, the Clarkson University Women's Hockey team was able to overcome the winter elements and a stubborn Rochester Institute of Technology squad to defeat the Tigers 6-2 before 1,578 frozen fans at Frontier Field on Saturday afternoon.
Senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) paced the Golden Knights to the win and was named the game's First Star after a two-goal, one-assist effort.
Ranked 6th/7th in the national polls, Clarkson closes out the 2013 portion of the schedule with a 14-4-2 record. After an exhibition game against McGill University at Cheel Arena on January 3, the Knights resume ECAC Hockey Action with a home-and-home series against archrival St. Lawrence on January 10-11.
With the temperature at 16 degrees, a brisk wind blowing and steady snowfall accumulating during the Frozen Frontier, Clarkson used two quick offensive burst and the play of its senior class to gain the win over RIT.
After a scoreless first period, in which Clarkson held a 12-2 shot advantage, the Knights jumped out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second stanza. The Green and Gold began the scoring with a pair of goals 33 seconds apart.
Carly Mercer connected in front off a pass from her younger sister, sophomore Cayley Mercer (Exeter, ONT) at 9:59 with freshman Genevieve Bannon also assisting. The Knights came right back with senior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) finishing off a pass from classmate Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) at 9:59.
At 12:45, Clarkson built a 3-0 lead on Carly Mercer's second goal of the period. Senior defender Vanessa Plante (Riviere-du-Loup, QUE) and Cayley Mercer picked up the assists.
The Tigers, who lost to Clarkson 12-1 in the season opener on September 28, battled back, however, with a late second-period score and a goal at 1:21 of the third period to make it a 3-2 game. Kolbee McCrea scored both goals for RIT.
Senior assistant captain Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE) gave Clarkson back the momentum at 7:35 when she stole the puck along the boards in the RIT end while on the penalty kill and fired in a wrist shot from the slot for a shorthanded marker, giving the Knights a 4-2 lead.
Thirty-four seconds later sophomore Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, SASK) tipped in a pass from Carly Mercer for her third goal of the season, putting Clarkson on top 5-2. Sophomore defender Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) also assisted,
Gagnon closed out the scoring with her second goal of the game and seventh of the year at 16:53. Sophomore Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) and Bannon recorded the assists.
Clarkson outshot RIT 46-14. Senior Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) made 12 saves, including six over the final 20 minutes for her 73rd career win.
Both teams were 0-of-2 on the power play