Grand Forks, ND - For 46 seconds in the third period the Clarkson University Women's Hockey team had to do what is virtually unthinkable: hold off an attack that outnumbered them two-to-one. But the fourth-rated Golden Knights survived a 6-on-3 situation after a pair of penalties and the opposition pulling its goaltender to claim a 3-1 victory against ninth-ranked North Dakota Friday afternoon at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The Golden Knights improved to 8-1 overall with their third straight victory while North Dakota fell to 4-5. The two teams will play once again on Saturday, starting at 3:07 pm.
The key moment in the contest came in the waning moments of the third period. Although up two goals, Clarkson saw Vanessa Plante (Riviere-du-Loup, QUE) and Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) whistled for tripping penalties 1:14 seconds apart. Adding to the pressure of a normal five-on-three situation, North Dakota pulled its goaltender for the remainder of the two-player advantage to create a three-player swing. With North Dakota players skating all around the Golden Knights, one shot went wide and Shelby Nisbet (Wiseton, SASK) blocked a pair of shots to minimize the threat until the first power play ended. Even with another two-skater advantage after the goalkeeper skated off the ice again, Clarkson once again got a block from Nisbet and two saves from Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) to clinch the victory.
North Dakota started the game with a distinct advantage, minimizing the Knights' scoring opportunities. Jocelyne Lamoureaux scored early on in the contest to get the home team going with her ninth goal of the year at 7:55. However, after the first intermission, the tables were quickly turned as Clarkson was the aggressor to the tune of a 24-10 shot advantage in the final two periods. With so many chances, the Knights were sure to eliminate the hosts advantage, and freshman Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, SASK) was the first to convert. Senior Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB) took a shot from up top and the puck was redirected by Howe at 8:48 in the second period, her fourth goal of the year. Along with Wood, Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) assisted.
The second period ended with a five-minute major from Lamoureaux and a game misconduct on a non-malicious checking from behind call that sent both players flying, and providing the Knights with a considerable advantage to start the third period. Clarkson took advantage with a power-play goal when Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT) scored her sixth goal of the year on another redirection off a shot from freshman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT), ECAC Hockey's Rookie of the Month. Brittany Styner also earned an assist on the score.
After the long power play chance ended, Clarkson scored an even-strength goal for an insurance goal with junior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) continuing her hot streak, wristing a shot top shelf on the blocker side of North Dakota goaltender Jorid Dagfinrud. Both Styner and Wood earned an assist on the score.
Clarkson finished with a 29-20 edge in shots and went 1-for-4 on the power play while North Dakota was held without a goal in three extra-skater opportunities. Erica Howe, the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Month, made 19 saves in the game, while Dagfinrud made 26 saves.