POTSDAM - After clinching the ECAC Hockey regular season title for the first time in program history, the 3rd-ranked Clarkson University womens hockey team will take the first step in winning the ECAC tournament when they battle the Dartmouth University Big Green in a best-of-three series this weekend at Cheel Arena.
Games 1 will be played at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Game 2 on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. A Game 3 will be played at 2 pm on Sunday if necessary.
Led by co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant coach Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights finished the regular season at 25-4-5 (16-2-4) and clinched the conference title with an overtime win against Union on Saturday afternoon. The Big Green earned the final playoff spot after defeating Brown on Friday night and Yale on Saturday evening. The four points helped Dartmouth jump over Colgate and Rensselaer into eighth place.
Clarkson lost to Harvard on November 9th to fall to 3-2-1 in conference play. Since then the Knights have gone 13-0-3 against ECAC foes, good for 36 points and a one-point advantage over the Crimson to claim the regular season title. The Green and Gold has not lost a game since early December, going 13-0-3 over the past 16 games.
Senior net minder Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) has played a large role in the teams success, starting every game in goal for the Knights and posting an .809 win percentage in the process. She has allowed only 1.12 goals per game, good for third best in the nation, and her 11 shutouts place her in second place in the country.
On the offensive end, senior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) has led the way, not only on the team, but in the nation as her 55 points put her in a tie for first in the country.
Sophomore Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) has been the most dominant defenseman throughout the entire season, leading the country with 1.41 points per game. She has tallied 15 more points than the next closest defender, and her 35 assists are good for second in the nation.
The Knights boast the second best scoring offense and defense in the nation, trailing only Minnesota in both categories. Averaging nearly four goals a game, Clarkson has outscored opponents 127-39 on the year.
Senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) is two points away from passing Britney Selina 10 into second all-time in scoring, behind Rattray who set the mark earlier this year. Rattray currently has 170 points, while Mercer stands at 147, and fellow senior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) is the third night to hit the century mark with 104 points.
The Knights first played the Big Green in early November and shut out Dartmouth 3-0 at Cheel Arena. Howe recorded 11 saves to post the shutout and freshmen Jessica Gillham (Uxbridge, ONT) and Genevieve Bannon (Candiac, QUE) both tallied goals in the victory.
Clarkson recorded three power-play goals when taking on the Big Green on the road, as Bannon tallied four points and senior Vanessa Plante (Riviere-du-Loup, QUE) added three assists in the commanding 6-1 victory.
Dartmouth had dropped five straight games before the final weekend in which a pair of victories lifted them into the playoffs. The Big Green started the conference schedule at 2-7 before going 6-6-1 over the final 13 games. Only two wins have come against playoff teams this year, as Dartmouth swept seventh-seeded Yale this year.