POTSDAM - The Clarkson University womens hockey team takes its perfect 4-0 ECAC Hockey mark and third-ranked 10-2 overall record on the road this weekend when the Golden Knights play at league foes Quinnipiac and Princeton.
Guided by fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant Matt Kelly, Clarkson will look for a little bit of redemption when it faces off against Quinnipiac at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, CT on Friday night in a 7 p.m. contest.
The Bobcats ended the Knights season last year by winning a league playoff series at Cheel Arena in February. Clarkson plays Princeton on Saturday in a 4 p.m. face off at Hobey Baker Rink in New Jersey to close out conference play on the road for 2012.
Led by junior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior assistant captain Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB), the Knights have been a dominant force in the NCAA and in ECAC Hockey play. Clarkson boasts the fourth-rated defense in Division I, allowing only 1.33 goals per game, while the offense is tied for first in conference play, scoring 4.50 goals per game in ECAC Hockey action. The Knights have outscored their opponent s 42-16 through the first 12 games. The only two losses Clarkson has suffered were one-goal defeats on the home ice of a pair of Top-10-ranked teams.
The Knights specialty teams play has been among the best in the country. The Green and Gold are ranked second in the nation on the power play, clicking at 34% (18-53). The Knights penalty-killing unit is ranked seventh in the NCAA, at 90% (54-60).
Among the top forwards in the nation, junior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) leads the Clarkson offense with 20 points, including a team-high nine goals. Rattray has come up big when it matters the most. She is tied for first in the country in game-winning goal (3) and has tallied five power-play markers, along with senior Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT), ranking fifth in Division I.
Mercer, who is coming off a big game with both Clarkson goals in this past Saturdays 2-1 victory over Brown at Cheel Arena, has 17 points (4-13). Freshman defenseman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) is one of the top rookies in the NCAA. She has tallied 16 points from the blueline this season, including 14 assists, despite missing the past two games with an injury.
Skirrow (7-4) and junior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) (3-8) post 11 points each to round out Clarksons double-digit scorers. Both Skirrow and Styner scored in the Knights 4-1 victory last Friday over Yale.
Junior Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) is ranked among the Top-10 goaltenders in the country. She posts a .941 save percentage and a 1.37 goals against average, and is tied for the NCAA lead in shutouts with three.
Quinnipiac owns a 6-4-2 overall record and a 3-2-1 ECAC Hockey mark. The Bobcats closed out a four-game road trip last weekend in the Albany area by taking three of a possible four league points on the road. Quinnipiac tied Union 2-2 and nipped Rensselaer 3-2.
Princeton, which hosts St. Lawrence on Friday, takes a three-game unbeaten streak into the weekend. The Tigers stand at 3-3-2 overall and are 1-3-2 in the league. Princeton edged Rensselaer 6-5 in Troy on Friday and then tied Union 1-1 in Schenectady on Saturday.