Knights sweep RPI in ECAC women's hockey quarterfinals with 5-2 victory
Potsdam, NY – Junior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) scored a pair of unassisted goals in the second period to help the fifth-ranked Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team clinch its ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals series over Rensselaer, taking game two of the series 5-2 to earn a sweep over the Engineers in front of 280 fans Saturday afternoon at Cheel Arena.
The Golden Knights improved to 28-8-0 overall on the season while Rensselaer finished its campaign at 10-22-4. Clarkson, seeded second in the ECAC Hockey playoffs, will face third-seeded Harvard in the semifinals to be held on Friday at Cornell University.Clarkson spent four minutes killing off power plays and was up a skater for four minutes itself, and though the Knights’ first-period goal was not on the man-advantage, their play on special teams was certainly superior in the opening frame. The Knights out shot RPI 14-5 in the period, and had six shots on the power play, one more than their opponent’s entire total in the first 20 minutes. Despite the advantage, it wasn’t until Clarkson’s final shot that the Green and Gold were able to break the scoreless tie. With the puck lose in front of the RPI goal, freshman forward Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) was able to jam the puck past Engineers’ goaltender Kelly O’Brien with just 34 seconds left in the frame to give Clarkson a 1-0 advantage. The unassisted goal was MacAulay’s eighth of the season.
In the second period, the Knights picked up a pair of goals thanks to some impressive work by junior Jamie Lee Rattray. Skating down a player after a penalty, Rattray and the rest of the penalty kill unit made it appear as if Clarkson was on the power play, holding the puck in the Rensselaer end and getting a few good opportunities. Near the end of the shift, Rattray outworked two RPI defenders for the puck near the blue line and won the puck for a one-on-one with O’Brien, with Rattray coming out on top with her 21st score of the year. A couple of stick moves ended in a backhand past O’Brien’s gloveside, giving Clarkson a 2-0 lead at 11:53 with the Knights needing to skate just 18 more seconds before the RPI power play was over. Just a few moments later, another hustle play gave Clarkson a three-goal advantage. One attempt was deflected out to Rattray near the top of the left circle and she skated in stride to take a slapshot that ticked off the post and in for another unassisted goal, this time at 14:51, her 22nd of the season.
Following a power play chance by RPI, the Engineers were able to pull back to within a pair of goals midway through the third period. Mariana Walsh gained control of the puck away from a stunned Shelby Nisbet (Wiseton, SASK), who was inadvertently hit in the helmet on the play. From there, Walsh passed the puck into the slot to Lauren Walsh, who wristed the puck past Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) at 10:43.
Clarkson took little time getting its three-goal advantage back, as Renata Fast (Burlington, ONT) skated in on a rush towards the RPI goal. The puck found its way back to freshman Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, SASK) at the bottom of the slot and she quickly wristed it in at 13:50 for her sixth goal of the season. Fast assisted, her seventh of the year, as did Christine Lambert (Thetford Mines, QUE) for her seventh assist of the season.
Following a timeout, RPI pulled its goaltender and put plenty of pressure on the Knights, but eventually Clarkson was able to clear the zone and Rattray looked ready to complete a hat trick before being taken down near center ice. Regardless, she was able to push the puck up to junior Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE), who finished off the empty-net goal, her ninth of the year, at 17:36.
Some sloppy play ended the contest with a handful of penalties on both sides, and late in the contest RPI scored to pull back to within three. With 5.1 seconds remaining Katie Daniels wristed a shot from the top of the slot for her second goal of the year. Jordan Smelker and Taylor Horton each earned assists.
Erica Howe made 17 saves for the Golden Knights earning her 27th win of the season, while Kelly O’Brien denied 29 shots. Clarkson out shot RPI 34-19 in the contest, and the Knights were 0-for-7 on the power play while RPI was held scoreless in six extra-skater chances.