POTSDAM - After a well-rested break, the Clarkson University womens hockey team will look to continue its winning ways this weekend when the Golden Knights host Central New York rivals Cornell and Colgate in ECAC Hockey Action at Cheel Arena.
Guided by fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant coach Matt Kelly, Clarkson will battled the third-ranked Big Red of Cornell at 7 p.m. on Friday and face off against the Colgate Raiders at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Junior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior assistant captain Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT) lead a balanced Clarkson squad that is off to the best start in the programs 10-year history. The Golden Knights are currently the second-ranked team in the country by the national polls and own a 12-2 overall record. The Green and Golds only two losses were one-goal defeats on the home ice of a pair of Top-10 ranked teams (4-3 at Mercyhurst and 3-2 at North Dakota). The Knights are tied for second in the ECAC Hockey standings with a perfect 6-0 league mark.
In its last action before the break, Clarkson gained a weekend sweep on the road to run its current winning streak to four games. The Knights behind a hat trick from junior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) skated past Quinnipiac 4-1 on November 16, and then pull out a 2-1 overtime triumph at Princeton the following day with Rattray scoring her Division 1-leading fifth game-winning goal of the season. Junior Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) posted 36 and 21 saves, respectively in the road sweep.
Rattray, who has recorded at least one point in 13 of the first 14 games, powers the Clarkson offense with 25 points, including a team-high 13 goals. Mercer follows with 21 points, including a team-high 16 assists. Freshman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) is the second top scorer in the country from the blueline, averaging 1.42 points per game with two goals and 15 assists in 12 contests.
The Knights power play is ranked third in the nation (31.7%), while the penalty-kill is 8th (89.6%) in the country. Rattray and Skirrow pace the power-play units with five and four goals, respectively on the man-advantage.
A three-time winner of ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week, Howe backbones the Clarkson defense, which ranks third in the country in goals allowed (1.29). She is ranked among the top six netminders in the nation with a .946 save percentage and a 1.31 goals against average through 13 games. Howe has not allowed more than one goal in each of the past four games.
Ranked third in the polls, Cornell saw its lengthy winning streak come to an end on Saturday with a 3-1 loss at national powerhouse Harvard. The Big Red defeated Dartmouth 2-1 in overtime last Friday in Hanover for their eighth straight victory. The Big Red stand at 9-2 overall and are currently atop the ECAC standings with 14 points on a 7-1 league mark. Cornell, led by Brianne Jenner (8-9) and Jillian Saulnier (5-12), is averaging over four goals a game.
Colgate enters the North Country winless in its last four games. The Raiders, who play at St. Lawrence on Friday, came away with a 2-2 tie at Dartmouth on Saturday to stop a three-game losing skid. Colgate owns a 3-10-2 overall record and is 0-6-2 in ECAC Hockey. The Raiders have yet to win away from Starr Rink with a 0-4-1 road mark.