Challenging for the top spot in the ECAC Hockey standings, the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team travels to the New York’s Capital District region this weekend looking to continue its solid play. Guided by fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers and assistant coach Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights battle Rensselaer in a 7:00 p.m. game at Houston Field House in Troy on Friday, and then take on Union at Messa Rink in Schenectady on Saturday in a 4:00 p.m. contest.
Led by junior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior assistant captain Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB), Clarkson is ranked sixth in the national polls with a 21-7 overall record. With six games remaining in the regular season the Green and Gold own a third-place, 13-3 ECAC Hockey mark. Clarkson is three points shy of league-leader Harvard.
This past weekend, the Knights split a home-and-home series with North Country rival St. Lawrence. On Friday, Clarkson won its third straight game of the season over the Saints, posting a 3-1 victory at Cheel Arena. Junior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) started the Knights dominating effort by scoring just 44 seconds in. Clarkson outshot St. Lawrence 30-15. Junior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) and freshman defenseman Renata Fast (Burlington, ONT) added power-play tallies.
On Saturday, the Knights jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Styner and freshman Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI). Penalty troubles in the second period, however, caught up to the Green and Gold, and the Saints took advantage of the Knights’ time in the box by scoring three goals to eke out a 3-2 win at Appleton Arena. The Knights went 0-of-2 on the power play while St. Lawrence was 1-of-11 with the man-advantage.
Rattray leads Clarkson in scoring with 40 points, including 17 goals. Rattray, who recently reached the century mark in scoring with 103 (43-60) career points, is five points shy of breaking Clarkson’s single- season point mark. She is tied for the national lead in game-winning goals with seven.
Mercer follows close behind with 36 points on 13 goals and 23 assists. She also has also reached century mark with 100 career points (35-65).
Rattray (7), Mercer (6) and senior Danielle Skirrow (6) (Trenton, ONT) highlight Clarkson’s power-play, which is ranked fifth in the country (30-127, 23.6%) and first in ECAC Hockey (15-71, 21.1%).
The top-scoring rookie defenseman in the country, averaging 1.12 points per game, freshman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) has tallied 27 points, including a team-high 25 assists. She is just three helpers away from setting a new Clarkson record for assists in a season. Styner, who has a three-game, goal-scoring streak, and Skirrow round out the Knights’ 20-point scorers with 26 (9-17) and 22 (12-10) points, respectively.
Rated among the top 10 goaltenders in the nation, junior Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) backbones a stingy defensive effort by the Green and Gold. Clarkson is allowing only 1.64 goals per game (sixth best in Division 1). Howe posts a .933 save percentage, a 1.68 goals against average and is tied forth third in the country in shutouts with five. Howe recently became Clarkson’s all-time wins leader, boasting a 52-24-10 career record.
Rensselaer owns a 9-16-3 overall record and is in seventh place in the conference standings with a 7-8-1 ECAC Hockey mark. The Engineers split on the road in Central NY this past weekend, winning 4-1 at Colgate before falling to Cornell 3-1. Rensselaer is 5-7-2 at Houston Field House this season.
Union, which hosts St. Lawrence on Friday, is looking to snap a seven-game losing skid and pick up its first ECAC Hockey win of the season. The Dutchwomen own a 7-18-3 overall record and a 12th-place 0-13-3 league mark. Union lost at Cornell (8-1) and Colgate (3-1) in its last action.