Potsdam, NY – Although the first eight games of the season were a disappointment for the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team, the opening dates of ECAC Hockey play started just fine for the Golden Knights, as the Green and Gold opened the season with a four-point weekend, finishing with a 2-1 victory over Rensselaer Saturday afternoon in front of 153 fans at Cheel Arena.
The Golden Knights improved to 3-6-1 overall and 2-0-0 in league play, ending a four-game winless streak versus the Engineers. Rensselaer moved to 2-5-2 and 1-1-0. Clarkson returns to non-conference action next weekend when they visit Syracuse University.
Though Clarkson has struggled on the power play all season long (just 3-for-42 entering Saturday’s contest), the Golden Knights showed some expertise on their first chance of the game on Saturday. The Knights passed the puck around the perimeter looking for an opening, and finally got one as the puck cycled out to sophomore defenseman Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB) laced a shot that just slightly deflected off a Rensselaer defender and past the Engineers goaltender at 6:14, only 43 seconds into the extra-skater advantage for Clarkson. Katelyn Ptolemy (Dinsmore, SASK) and Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) each were awarded assists on the goal.
Rensselaer scored a power-play of its own in the second period to knot the game up at 1-1. At the tail end of the power-play chance, Sierra Vadner took a similar shot as Wood’s in the first period, scoring on a shot from between the blue line and the left circle, her first goal of the season. Andie LeDonne was awarded the assist on the Engineers’ score, which came at 11:21 in the second frame.
With both teams getting solid chance throughout the contest, it was only a matter of time before one team asserted itself by picking up the eventual game-winner, and the Golden Knights were the fortunate ones. Junior Juana Baribeau (Amos, QUE) drew several defenders at the blueline, and found a wide open Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT) in the slot behind the defense. A quick pass from Baribeau found Skirrow, who had plenty of time to put a couple of stick moves on the RPI goaltender, finishing with a backhand at the top of the net at 4:15 in the third period.
Rensselaer pulled the goalie with just over a minute remaining, and Clarkson nearly picked up another score on the empty net, but an Engineer defender jumped in front of the net and caught the puck in her midsection, denying the Knights an insurance goal.
Clarkson goaltender Lauren Dahm (Baldwinsville, NY) finished with 20 saves, earning her second victory of the year. Sonja van der Bliek ended the contest with 30 saves for Rensselaer. Clarkson went 1-for-4 on the power play, while Rensselaer scored once in its six extra-skater chances.