After a very impressive start in the non-league portion of the schedule, the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team will look to continue its momentum when it opens ECAC Hockey play this weekend hosting Capital District rivals Union and Rensselaer at Cheel Arena. The Golden Knights, guided by fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers and assistant Matt Kelly, face off against the Dutchwomen on Friday at 3:00 p.m. and then take on the Engineers on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Led by junior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior assistant captain Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB), Clarkson stands at 5-1 overall and owns a fourth-place ranking in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls. Boasting the second-best defense in the country and the ninth-rated offense, the Green and Gold have outscored their opponents 19-8 through the first six games. The Knights are coming off a weekend split on the road against Top-10 ranked Mercyhurst in Erie, PA. Clarkson shut out the Lakers 3-0 last Friday before suffering its first loss of the year, falling by one goal 4-3 on Saturday.
One of the top offensive threats in Division I, junior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) is off to a strong start to the 2012-13 campaign, averaging over two points per game. Rattray leads the Green and Gold’s offense with 13 points on eight goals and five assists, and is ranked among the top five in the nation in just about every scoring category. She is tied for first in the country in game-winning goals (3), tied for second in shorthanded markers (1) and tied for fourth in power-play tallies (4). Rattray was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week after scoring four goals and one assist against Mercyhurst.
Mercer, who has set up at least one goal in every game this season, is the top playmaker in the nation with 10 assists. Freshman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) is tied for first in the nation for points per game by a defenseman (1.50) with one goal and eight assists through her first six collegiate outings. Ambrose joined Rattray on the league’s weekly all-star list, earning ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week accolades.
ECAC Goaltender of the Year last season, Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) has continued her solid play into her junior campaign, boasting a .952 save percentage and a 1.41 goals against average. Howe backbones a stingy defensive effort which is allowing only 1.33 goals per game and has already posted two shutouts this season.
Union, at 2-2, has looked solid in the early going and is coming off a 3-2 win over Rensselaer in Troy this past Saturday. The Dutchwomen opened the year with a 3-2 victory over Connecticut in Schenectady before losing on the road to powerhouses Northeastern (4-1) and Boston University (6-2).
After skating to a tie (4-4) and win (5-3) over Connecticut at home to start the season, Rensselaer has dropped three straight. The Engineers, who play at St. Lawrence on Friday, have battled their opponents tough, having only been outscored 14-13 through the first five games.
Clarkson leads the series against Union 17-1. The teams split last year. The Knights have won four straight over Rensselaer to lead their series 8-4-2.