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Clarkson women’s hockey team faces tough early-season road test at Mercyhurst

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POTSDAM - Ranked fifth in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls, the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team faces a stiff challenge on the road this weekend as the Golden Knights play a two-game set at seventh/eighth-ranked Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA.

Guided by fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant coach Matt Kelly, Clarkson, is off to a perfect start in its 10th season of NCAA Hockey action. Led by junior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior assistant captain Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB), the Knights swept the University of Vermont last weekend at Cheel Arena to improve their record to 4-0. Clarkson opened the 2012-13 campaign by winning both games of a home-and-home series against archrival St. Lawrence. The Knights defeated the then 7th-ranked Saints 1-0 in Canton and 3-2 in Potsdam on October 5-6.

Junior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) scored two specialty-team goals and recorded one assist to lead the Green and Gold to a convincing 4-1 victory over UVM last Friday. Clarkson dominated throughout the contest holding a 47-16 advantage in shots. Junior Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) turned aside 15 shots to post her 35th career win.

A pair of freshmen scored their first collegiate goals to give the Knights the early lead and sophomore goaltender Emily Horn (Hamilton, ONT) came through with a solid effort in net as Clarkson skated to a 5-1 triumph over the Catamounts on Saturday. Making her first career start and only third appearance in the Golden Knights’ net, Horn posted 17 saves, including 12 stops in the second period. Rookies Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) and Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, SASK) scored 35 seconds apart early in the first period to set the momentum in the Green and Gold’s favor.

Rattray, who has recorded at least a point in each of the first four games, leads Clarkson in scoring with four goals and four assists. She is averaging close to a point per game in her career with 30 goals and 41 assists through 74 games. Junior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) (1-4) and Mercer (0-5) follow with five point each.

Freshman defenseman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) leads the Clarkson freshman in scoring with four points (1-3). MacAulay had a solid weekend against UVM with one goal, one assist and a +2 rating. MacAulay was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week for her efforts.

Erica Howe has started three games for the Knights and posts a .959 save percentage, a 1.00 goals against average and one shutout.

The Lakers of Mercyhurst are 5-0-1 to start the season and are coming off an impressive sweep of Providence (6-3, 5-0) this past weekend at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. Mercyhurst, of College Hockey America, opened the 2012-13 campaign by skating past league foe RIT (6-2, 7-0) on September 28-29. The Lakers then tied and defeated ECAC Hockey opponent Quinnipiac (4-4, 4-3) in Hamden, CT on October 5-6 to close out a four-game road trip.

Mercyhurst, which won the first five games of the all-time series, leads the Knights 6-3-3 in their rivalry. Clarkson has gone 3-1-3 over the last seven games. In their last meetings, the Lakers gained a 6-3 win on October 15, 2010, before the twos team skated to a 5-5 tie the following night to complete the weekend series in Erie.

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