Potsdam, NY – With three goals separated by just seven minutes and 47 seconds in the second period, the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team was able to open the ECAC Hockey schedule with a 6-0 shutout over Union College Friday afternoon in front of 204 fans at Cheel Arena.
The fourth-ranked Golden Knights improved to 6-1-0 overall and 1-0-0 in ECAC Hockey, while Union fell to 2-3-0 and 0-1-0 in league play. Clarkson looks to continue on its season-opening hot streak on Saturday when it faces Rensselaer at 3:30 pm.
Though much of the first period was played in the Union defensive end, the Golden Knights were unable to get many solid scoring opportunities. The Dutchwomen tied up the Clarkson offensive players behind the net and though the Knights got some shots off, half of them were blocked before they reached the Union net. The best scoring chance came for the Dutchwomen late in the period when Christine Valente took a shot from the slot. With calamity in front, Clarkson goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) was able to make a save from the seat of her pants and then snagged another attempt, this time while upright, from the middle of the right circle just a few seconds later.
Clarkson started the second period quickly down a player as the Knights were whistled for an interference call, but Union was held to just a single shot with an extra-skater. Called for another interference penalty with five seconds remaining in the first penalty, Clarkson continued to hold off all Union charges for close to a full four minutes, and even had a pair of shots come from Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT), one of which was a virtual one-on-one with the Union goaltender Shenae Lundberg.
Shortly after the two penalty kills, Clarkson’s offense opened up the game with three second-period goals. Junior Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE) started the play making when she skated deep into the Union zone below the right circle and sent a pass across the slot to linemate Shelby Nisbet (Wisetown, SASK) who rattled a shot top shelf at 6:51 to make the score 1-0. Less than three minutes later, Nisbet would earn an assist with a ricochet to her right wing Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, SASK), who flipped in a shot at 9:12 for a 2-0 Clarkson lead. Freshman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) was awarded, along with Nisbet, with an assist.
Late in the third period the Golden Knights finished off their trifecta when senior Danielle Skirrow picked up a loose puck from behind the net following a missed shot from Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB), and slipped a shot past Lundberg on her stick side at the 14:38 mark of the frame. Wood and sophomore Christine Lambert (Thetford Mines, QUE) scored helpers on Skirrow’s fourth goal of the year.
A mix up at the start of the third put the Knights down a player to start the period, but once again Clarkson was able to weather that penalty and another just a few seconds after the first ended, pushing its impressive penalty kill to 34 in 37 chances (92 percent). The Knights padded their lead midway through the final frame. Skirrow sent a pass out to the point to Ambrose, but the freshman only got a piece of the puck and it skipped back up to Skirrow near the bottom of the left circle. From there, the senior chipped a pass across the slot to Christine Lambert, who finished off the play with her first goal of the season at 10:09.
A scrum in front accounted for Clarkson’s fifth goal of the game. Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) and Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) exchanged chances in front of the Union cage, and finally a shot/pass made its way across the crease to a wide open Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT), who flipped the puck into a fairly open net on Lundberg’s glove side at 16:36. Both Rattray and Styner earned assists on the play, extending Rattray’s season-opening point-scoring streak to seven games.
Finally, Clarkson finished off its scoring on a late power play. After a couple of denied shots, it appeared as if Carly Mercer had ended the power play, but the conclusion was denied by the referees. However, Styner quickly ended any doubt, ending the extra-skater chance at 19:12 on Lundberg’s stick side.
Howe was called upon to make 16 saves in the game for her third shutout and fifth victory of the young season, while Lundberg made 30 saves. Clarkson out shot Union 36-16, and went 1-for-1 on the power play. The Dutchwomen were held scoreless in their four chances with an extra skater.