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Clarkson women look forward to NCAA tourney after 1-0 loss to Cornell

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By CAP CAREY

POTSDAM — The moment the final buzzer sounded Sunday and Cornell’s 1-0 victory over Clarkson in the ECAC Hockey championship game was complete, Clarkson’s Jamie Lee Rattray bent forward near the boards and rested her head against the glass for a few moments.

Her green pants covered with ice shavings from tussling with Cornell players all afternoon, Rattray contemplated a disappointment in an area where her father, David, sits.

But about 15 minutes later as she came into a room at Cheel Arena for the postgame press conference, she still showed some signs of disappointment, but was already focusing on the upcoming NCAA Division I Tournament.

“As a senior our first goal was to win the ECACs,” Rattray said. “We have been pushing for that our whole career. It’s a great league. I believe it’s the hardest league to win. The upside is we do have another game next weekend, and we are going for a bigger goal now. You dwell on this for 10 or 15 minutes, and you have to get ready for next weekend and go for a bigger goal.”

Clarkson (28-5-5) did not reach its goal of winning an ECAC Hockey Tournament title, but the Golden Knights will host an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal game with Boston College on Saturday, most likely starting at 4 p.m. If Clarkson wins, the Golden Knights would advance to the Frozen Four at Quinnipiac in Hamden, Conn., the following weekend.

“Any time you lose a game or tie or you don’t play up to your best, you can always take things from that game and learn from it, and that’s what we’ll do this week,” Clarkson co-coach Matt Desrosiers said. “We’ll break some things down on video and see what we can improve upon and tweak a little bit.”

Cornell (24-5-4), which is hosting Mercyhurst in a quarterfinal, won its third ECAC Hockey Tournament title in the past four years, and second straight, by stifling Clarkson on defense throughout the game.

“I was really proud of our team, especially today, I thought they played great,” Cornell coach Doug Derraugh said. “I thought they executed very well, worked really hard and played really tough. It was great from the goaltending out.”

Clarkson beat the Big Red 3-1 at Cheel Arena on Jan. 25 and scored three goals in a 6-3 loss to Cornell on Oct. 25 in Ithaca.

But after scoring six goals Saturday in a semifinal against Quinnipiac, Clarkson’s offense failed to put any shots past Cornell’s Lauren Slebodnick on Sunday. Slebodnick finished with 26 saves.

“I kind of knew what they were looking for, passes up front and screens for rebounds,” Slebodnick said. “I was just keeping my eye on the back door and Rattray in particular. That’s what I really focused on.”

The Big Red’s only goal came at 14 minutes, 27 seconds of the first period, when Cassandra Poudrier scored on a slap shot from between the circle and the blue line that hit off the left goalpost and dropped in. Cornell’s Kaitlin Doering made a nice play in front of the blue line to keep Clarkson from clearing the puck a few moments before the goal was scored.

“I just called (Caroline DeBruin) for the puck and she passed it to me, and I just tried to put it to the net like we’ve been practicing all week and all year long and it just went through,” Poudrier said. “I don’t know, it just went in. We just played the system.”

The Golden Knights gave up 12 shots in the first period, but allowed only four in the second and the third periods. Clarkson also held Cornell to one shot on two power-play chances.

After struggling to get much going in the first two periods, Clarkson finally started to show life in the third period and had several scoring chances on a power-play that came with 3:57 seconds left.

“We still believe in our team, it just didn’t go our way today,” Clarkson senior Vanessa Gagnon said. “We had a couple bad bounces, too. We definitely thought at the end, with that power play, that we were working so hard we were going to get our goal, but it didn’t happen.”



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