Troy, NY – Three power-play goals led the 4th/5th-ranked Clarkson University Women's Hockey team by the Rensselaer Engineers 5-1 on Saturday afternoon.
The win improves the Golden Knights to 21-4-3 (12-2-2 ECAC Hockey) while the loss drops the Engineers to 10-15-2 (6-9-1). Clarkson now stands two points behind leader Harvard with six league games remaining as the Crimson played to a 2-2 tie at Quinnipiac today. The Knights also have a game in hand on Harvard.
"I thought we came out a little flat the first few minutes of the game but responded very well after giving up the first goal," stated Clarkson co-Head Coach Matt Desrosiers. "We continued to play our game and worked hard to generate some power plays for ourselves. I really liked how we capitalized on our power play opportunities not only tonight but all weekend long. Once we settled in tonight we were able to use our depth to our advantage to create some good scoring chances. I'm really happy with the compete level and execution we saw from our players this weekend."
The Engineers were the first to score at the 8:24 mark as Alexa Gruschow found Heidi Huhtamaki who beat senior goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) to give RPI the 1-0 lead.
The lead would not last for long as the Knights continued their successful weekend on the power-play. Given the man advantage, freshman Genevieve Bannon (Candiac, QUE) and senior Vanessa Plante (Riviere-du-Loup, QUE) combined to find sophomore Renata Fast (Burlington, ONT) who did the rest and beat goaltender Brianna Piper for her first goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
RPI committed four penalties in the first period, and the Knights went 1-3 with the extra skater and would start the second period with 1:29 remaining on their fourth attempt with an extra skater. The Knights outshot the Engineers 21-7 in the period.
The Knights would use all but two seconds of that power-play before cashing in with the go-ahead goal. Sophomore Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) received passes from senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and sophomore Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) and beat Piper to give Clarkson the 2-1 lead. The goal is the fifth power-play goal of the weekend for the Green and Gold.
Senior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) added to the lead at the 15:49 mark as the Knights had a 4-on-3 advantage. Ambrose controlled the puck along the blue line before passing to senior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB). Styner returned the puck to Ambrose who drew two defenders before passing to the right to Rattray who blasted a one-timer by Piper that hit off of the crossbar and deflected into the net. The goal was Rattray's 25th on the season and gave the Knights a 3-1 lead late in the second period.
Clarkson would put the Engineers away when senior Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE) controlled the puck behind the RPI net before passing out to Styner along the boards. Styner would hit Plante with a pass to the blue line and Plante ripped a slap shot by Piper to give the Knights the 4-1 lead. The goal was the first even-strength score of the game for Clarkson.
The Knights again dominated shots on goal, outshooting the Engineers 15-2 in the second period.
MacAulay was not done as she scored again at the 9:48 mark in the third period. Taking passes from junior Daniella Matteucci (Fruitvale, BC) and senior Shelby Nisbet (Wiseton, SASK), MacAulay lifted a shot by Piper for her second goal of the game to put Clarkson ahead 5-1.
The Engineers could not stay out of the penalty box throughout the game, as they were whistled for eight penalties that led to three Clarkson scores. The Knights once again held a significant advantage in shots on net, outshooting RPI 47-12 on the afternoon. Clarkson combined to outshoot opponents 97-19 on the weekend.
Howe posted 11 saves in recording her 21st win of the season and 80th career victory in the Clarkson net.