Potsdam, NY – In a dominating performance from start to finish, the 2nd/3rd-ranked Clarkson University Women's Hockey team cruised by the 7th-ranked Quinnipiac University Bobcats 6-0 in the ECAC Hockey Women's Championship semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Cheel Arena.
The top-seeded Golden Knights improve to 28-4-5 while the fourth-seeded Bobcats drop to 22-6-9. Clarkson ties their single-season record with 28 wins, set in last year's campaign. The Knights run their unbeaten streak to 19 games (16-0-3) and will look to add to their ECAC regular season title when they host Cornell game in the ECAC Championship game tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 pm at Cheel Arena. The Championship Game will be video streamed live over ESPN3
The Knights will find out where they are seeded in the upcoming NCAA tournament tomorrow evening during the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Selection Show at 6:00 pm.
Senior goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) recorded her third straight shutout in the ECAC playoffs, and has now gone 194:36 minutes without allowing a goal, dating back to the final game of the regular season against Union. Howe stopped all 12 shots she faced to pick up her 28th win of the year and 14th shutout on the season.
Clarkson dominated the opening minutes of play, controlling the puck in the Quinnipiac zone and putting the puck on net multiple times. The Bobcats were only able to clear the puck once in the first three minutes, and immediately dumped it into the Clarkson zone for a line change.
The Knights would get on the board first at the 6:08 mark when sophomore Cayley Mercer (Exeter, ONT) controlled the puck at the blue line and passed across to senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT). After holding the puck to avoid a sliding defender, Carly Mercer fired a slap shot from the blue line that carried over the blocker of Quinnipiac goaltender Chelsea Laden and into the net to give Clarkson the 1-0 lead. Sophomore Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, SASK) also assisted on the play.
The Bobcats would get the first power-play opportunity of the game but the Knights killed it off thanks in part to senior Shelby Nisbet (Wiseton, SASK) tying up the puck against the boards in the Quinnipiac zone and holding off three Bobcats for over 20 seconds to kill the clock.
Howe made two impressive saves to begin the second period, as the Knights killed off the remaining 35 seconds of a power-play that carried over from the first period.
The Knights would strike again at the 3:36 mark as Top Three Patty Kazmaier Award Finalist and ECAC Player of the Year senior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) fired a shot on net that was saved by Laden. Classmate Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) controlled the puck behind the net and found sophomore Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) streaking up the middle of the ice toward the net. Styner hit Ambrose with a pass and the Kazmaier Top 10 Finalist and Best Defensive-Defensemen in the ECAC beat Laden on the blocker side with a wrist shot to double the Clarkson lead to 2-0.
A holding call with under a minute to play in the second period put the Knights on the power-play and they wasted no time adding to the lead as Rattray received a pass from Styner and put a shot on net. Laden was able to stop the initial shot but could not handle the rebound and sophomore Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) poked the rebound through the five-hole to give Clarkson the 3-0 lead.
The Knights put the Bobcats away at the 3:55 mark in the third period as sophomore Renata Fast (Burlington, ONT) guided the puck through the Clarkson zone and dumped it to Nisbet at the blue line. Nisbet carried the puck through the neutral zone and up the left side of the ice before beating Laden with a wrist shot from the left circle to give the Knights the 4-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later the Knights would add to their lead as junior Christine Lambert (Thetford Mines, QUE) took a pass from freshman Genevieve Bannon (Candiac, QUE) and beat Laden with a wrist shot to her glove side to give Clarkson the 5-0 lead. Nisbet also assisted on the play. Laden would be replaced by backup Sydney Rossman after allowing a season-high five goals.
Although they were up against a different goaltender, it was the same result for the Knights as a hooking penalty put Clarkson on the power-play midway through the third period. Ambrose attempted a shot that went wide of the net but Styner was in position behind the net to maintain possession. MacAulay cut toward the net and Styner hit her in stride with a pass that MacAulay finished for her second goal of the game to put the Knights up 6-0. The assist was Styner's third of the game.
The Knights outshot the Bobcats 26-12 on the afternoon while holding a 28-20 advantage in the faceoff circle. Clarkson was 2-3 on the power-play while Quinnipiac was scoreless in three chances.