Potsdam, NY – Skating down two players, thanks to a pulled goalie, for the final 75 seconds, the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team was able to hold off a late charge by Syracuse University to claim a 3-2 non-league victory Friday night in front of 274 fans at Cheel Arena.
The Golden Knights, ranked second in the country, improved to 14-3-0 overall while Syracuse fell to 9-7-1. The two teams will face off against one another again on Saturday, with tomorrow’s contest being played in Central New York.
The Golden Knights jumped out on offense, but were unable to come away with any goals in the opening minutes. Syracuse goaltender Kallie Billadeau stopped a pair of shots on her glove side in the first four minutes, including a quick shot from Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) that was pushed away. Despite the early onslaught, it was Syracuse that would get the first goal of the contest, thanks to a hooking penalty that provided an extra attacker. Just 17 seconds in to the 5-on-4, Margot Scharfe sent a pass from the near the end line across the crease and found an open Holly Carrie-Mattimoe on the far side to give the Orange a 1-0 lead.
Clarkson responded less than three minutes later as Vanessa Plante (Riviere-du-Loup, QUE) picked up a loose puck near the blue line and skated around the back side of the net. From there, she either took a shot and had it deflect off of Billadeau’s pads or she whipped a pass to an open Daniella Matteucci (Fruitvale, BC) near the top of the left circle, and the sophomore finished off the goal by wristing a shot into a mostly open net.
The Knights held a dominating edge in shots in the second period (20-9), but it was the Orange that would head into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead. Clarkson was able to go on its second power play early in the period, and had numerous chances at earning the lead, but it was Sadie St. Germain of Syracuse that would break the tie. Deflecting a pass near the blue line, St. Germain outraced a pair of Clarkson defenders and skated across the creased and slid the puck past Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) for a short-handed goal at 6:56.
Through two periods, Clarkson held a 32-18 lead in shots, and the advantage would finally begin to pay dividends in the final frame of the game. Less than four minutes into the period, the Knights knotted the score up at 2-2 when Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) took a shot from near the point and had it deflected in by Plante at the 3:42 mark, with Jamie Lee Rattray also assisting. Less than four minutes later, Clarkson was able to take its first lead of the contest on the power play, just 33 seconds into its extra-skater attack. Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) passed the puck from the point to Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) at the top left the left circle and the two then skated past one another, switching spots on the ice. Styner returned the puck to Ambrose, now in the left circle, and the freshman sent a quick pass across the slot to a wide open Carly Mercer, who finished off the power play and gave Clarkson a 3-2 lead at 7:39 in the third period.
Christine Lambert was whistled for tripping in the waning moments, giving the Orange a chance to tie the score up in the final 90 seconds. As soon as Syracuse had the puck securely in the Clarkson end, Billadeau escaped the Syracuse net to provide the Orange with an extra attacker. Despite some solid chances by Syracuse, the Clarkson defense was able to hold the puck in the corner as the last seconds ticked away.
Clarkson finished with a 45-27 lead in shots, just two short of its season-high set during the third game of the season. Erica Howe closed with 25 stops while Billadeau made 42 saves. Clarkson went 1-for-4 on the power play, while Syracuse was 1-for-3.