Potsdam, NY – Senior Jamie Lee Rattray's (Kanata, ONT) pair of power-play goals guided the 3rd-ranked Clarkson University Women's Hockey team by the Dartmouth University Big Green 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at Cheel Arena.
The top-seeded Golden Knights improve to 26-4-5 on the season and will host the eighth-seeded Big Green (9-19-1) tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 pm in game two of the best-of-three series. A win will secure the series for the Knights and ensure that Clarkson hosts the ECAC Women's Hockey Championship next weekend. If Dartmouth wins tomorrow, game three will be played at 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoon at Cheel.
Senior goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) stopped all 15 shots she faced to record her 12th shutout of the season. The Knights keep their streak going as they have now gone unbeaten in 17 straight games (14-0-3).
"I really liked the way the team played and competed tonight," stated Clarkson co-head coach Matt Desrosiers. "We were very patient in sticking to our game plan to generate our scoring chances and limiting theirs. Our special teams played well tonight getting the job done for us. Our coaching staff really likes the mentality the team has right now as they seem very focused on each game. We will need to bring another great effort tomorrow if we want to close out the series."
Dartmouth carried a two-on-one advantage into the Clarkson zone early in the game, but junior defenseman Jennifer Shields (Ingersoll, ONT) laid out and poked the centering pass away to stop the Big Green's first scoring chance.
The Knights would go on the power-play at the 7:27 mark in the first period and Rattray made Dartmouth pay as she scored with 21 seconds remaining in the power-play. Senior Vanessa Plante (Riviere-du-Loup, QUE) controlled the puck behind the Clarkson net before passing ahead to sophomore Renata Fast (Burlington, ONT). The defender carried the puck into the neutral zone and passed to Rattray right before entering the Dartmouth zone. Rattray weaved between two defenders and beat Dartmouth goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft with a wrist shot to give the Knights the 1-0 lead.
Clarkson would go on another power-play late in the period but the Big Green would hold strong to keep the deficit at 1-0. The Green and Gold outshot Dartmouth 16-3 in the first period and dominated possession throughout the first 20 minutes.
An interference penalty four minutes into the second period put the Knights on the wrong side of a five-on-four, but after an early rush nearly led to a goal for Dartmouth, the Knights buckled down and killed off the penalty.
The Big Green would get another power-play opportunity later in the period, but Fast and Rattray controlled the puck in the Dartmouth zone for much of the final minute to kill off the penalty. Seconds after returning to full strength, the Knights committed another penalty but Clarkson was able to kill off its fourth penalty of the game to keep the 1-0 lead.
Clarkson outshot Dartmouth 12-10 in the second period, but three penalties by the home team allowed the Big Green to control the tempo in parts of the period.
Dartmouth took a holding penalty in the first minute of the third period and Rattray immediately made the Big Green pay as she gained control of the puck behind the Dartmouth net and poked the puck by Holdcroft to put the Knights ahead 2-0. Sophomore Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) and senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) were credited with assists on the play.
The final 10 minutes of the game were completely controlled by Clarkson, as the Knights did not allow Dartmouth to get anything going offensively to mount a comeback.
The Knights outshot the Big Green 40-15 on the afternoon and dominated the faceoff circle, winning 43 of 59 opportunities. Clarkson was 2-6 on the power-play while killing off all four Dartmouth attempts with the man-advantage.