Potsdam, NY – Sophomore Olivia Howe's (Moose Jaw, SASK) goal just over a minute into the extra session powered the 4th-ranked Clarkson University Women's Hockey team over the Union College Dutchwomen 2-1 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at Cheel Arena.
The Golden Knights improve to 25-4-5 (16-2-4 ECAC Hockey) while the Dutchwomen fall to 9-24-1 (4-18-0). Clarkson clinches the ECAC regular season title for the first time in the program's 11-year history, ending Cornell's four-year reign atop the conference.
The Knights will enter the ECAC playoffs as the top seed and host 8th-seeded Dartmouth in a best two-out-of-three series next weekend at Cheel Arena.
Despite controlling the puck throughout the final 10 minutes of regulation, the Knights could not break through and the Dutchwomen forced overtime.
The Knights would win the opening draw and control the puck in the attacking zone and 61 seconds into overtime senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) would find Howe in front of the net. Howe would sneak the puck by Union goaltender Shanae Lundberg to tally the game winner.
The Knights dominated the Dutchwomen in the faceoff circle, holding a 14-3 advantage, but only held a 9-7 shot advantage after one period. Union took as many shots in the first period as they did in the entire game earlier in the year against the Knights, a 5-0 Clarkson victory.
Fourteen seconds into the second period, after winning the opening draw, the Knights scored first as senior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) found classmate Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) behind the goal line in the Union zone. Rattray would pass out the sophomore Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) at the right faceoff circle and Ambrose blasted a blistering one-timer over the glove of Lundberg to put the Knights up 1-0.
Clarkson controlled the tempo throughout the first eight minutes of the second period, but an interference penalty led to a power-play for Union. As soon as the Knights killed off the penalty, a tripping call against the Knights led to another Dutchwomen power-play, and four straight minutes of skating down a man for Clarkson.
It was the Knights who would have the best scoring chance on the second penalty however, as senior Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE) pressured Union in their own zone. After chasing the Dutchwomen back and forth behind their goal line, a pass to attempt to clear the zone was intercepted by Styner, who weaved through the defense and attempted a backhanded shot that was deflected wide by Lundberg.
The Knights would not catch a break as a third straight penalty was called against the Green and Gold, leading to two more consecutive minutes on the wrong side of a five-on-four situation. Clarkson would kill the penalty and skate at even strength for the first time in six minutes.
Union would tie the game at the 5:24 mark in the third period after a slashing penalty led to yet another Dutchwoman power-play. Maddy Norton took a shot from the point that was deflected through the five-hole of Howe by Christine Valente to knot the game at one score a piece.
A tripping penalty against the Dutchwomen led to a power-play for the Knights and despite multiple opportunities right in front of the net Clarkson could not break the tie.
A body-checking penalty with under four minutes to play would lead to another Knight power-play but the Dutchwomen defense would stop try after try to keep the game tied.
Clarkson outshot Union 32-14 on the afternoon and won 38 of 51 face-offs. Union scored the only power-play goal of the game, going 1-5 with the man advantage while Clarkson ended 0-5 with the extra skater.