POTSDAM - With a five-game winning streak capped off by the quarterfinal-series sweep of Rensselaer, the Clarkson University womens hockey team travels to the ECAC Hockey Championship Tournament this weekend with plenty of momentum, confidence and purpose.
Guided by co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant coach Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights post the best record in the programs 10-year history at 28-8 overall. Clarkson finished in second place in the conference, one point out of first with an 18-4 ECAC Hockey mark.
Making its third ever conference championship tournament appearance, Clarkson will face off against third-seeded Harvard in semifinal round action on Saturday at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, NY at 4:00 p.m. In the other semifinal game on Saturday, league regular-season champion Cornell will host fifth-seeded St. Lawrence at 1:00 p.m. The winners of the semifinal round will play for the 2013 ECAC Hockey Tournament title on Sunday in a 1:00 p.m. game from Lynah Rink.
Sundays championship game, and possibly Saturdays semifinal games, will be broadcast live by ESPN3. Live stats will be available for all three games at ECAC Hockey.
The ECAC Hockey Tournament winner will be granted an automatic berth into the eight-team NCAA Tournament field. The NCAA Tournament is set to begin on March 15 with the Frozen Four taking place on March 22-24 in Minneapolis, M.N.
All seats are general admission for the event. Tickets are available through www.CornellBigRedTickets.com or by calling 607-254-BEAR(2327) and priced at $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $ 4 for Cornell staff and children (ages 5-12) and $3 student tickets from with valid ID.
Ranked 5th in the latest national polls, the Knights, led by junior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB), have been impressive all year and have set numerous team and individual records. The Green and Gold entered postseason play by winning six of the eight games in February to finish with their best league record ever.
Hosting its fourth ever postseason quarterfinal series at Cheel Arena, Clarkson swept a challenging Rensselaer squad, winning 3-2 in overtime on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday.
Ranked 6th/7th in the national polls, Harvard is coming off a dominant performance against sixth-seeded Dartmouth in their quarterfinal series at Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge, MA. The Crimson shut out the Big Green 3-0 and 4-0 over the weekend. Harvard, which finished with a 17-3-2 ECAC Hockey record, owns a 23-5-3 overall mark.
The number one seed in the playoffs and ranked 2nd/3rd in the nation, Cornell advances to host the tournament after pulling out its quarterfinal series against Colgate. The Big Red rallied late in Fridays game and won 5-4 in overtime and staged another comeback in Saturdays 3-2 triumph. Cornell posted an 18-3-1 ECAC Hockey mark and owns a 25-5-1 overall record.
The lone visiting team to win one of last weekends series, St. Lawrence is 19-13-5 overall and finished with a 12-6-4, fifth-place ECAC slate. The Saints knocked off Quinnipiac 2-1 (1-0, 2-3 3ot, 2-0) in Hamden, CT.
KNIGHT KNOTES: Clarkson Womens Hockey is celebrating its 10th season in style. The Knights have skated to the best season in the programs history at 28-8 and posted the best ECAC Hockey mark ever at 18-4 The Clarkson coaching staff, fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant Matt Kelly have surpassed the century mark in career victories with a 103-61-22 record guiding the Golden Knights Clarkson posted an 8-5 record against nationally-ranked teams this season The Knights went 15-4 in Potsdam and are 13-4 in games away from Cheel Forward Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT) and defenseman Hailey Wood are the only two seniors on the Green and Golds roster Erica Howe has backboned the Knights stingy defensive effort, which is allowing only 1.64 goals per game (sixth lowest in the country). Howe has played more minutes (2099.25) than any other goaltender in the NCAA. She ranks in the top 10 in save percentage (.935) and goals against average (1.63) and is tied for third in shutouts with six. Howe is Clarksons all-time winningest goaltender with a 59-25-10 record, including 15 career shutouts. She has twice been named ECAC Goaltender of the Month (October, November) this season Juniors Jamie Lee Rattray and Carly Mercer joined Clarksons elite 100-point club this season Rattray is averaging over a point per game with 48 goals and 65 assists for 113 points through 104 games. She has tallied a school-record 50 points this season on 22 goals and 28 assists through 34 games. Rattray is tied for the nations lead in game-winning goals with nine. She has a current five-game point scoring streak with five goals and three assists since mid-February The Knights captain, Carly Mercer has produced 104 career points (39-65) in 110 games. She is second on the Knights in scoring this season with 17 goals and 23 assists in 36 games. Mercer led the Knights in conference goals (12). She has six power-play markers and six game-winners The nations leading rookie scorer from the blueline, Erin Ambrose is enjoying a banner season in her collegiate debut. She is one of only three defensemen in the country who are averaging over a point per game. She has a 1.03 ppg average with 29 assists and four goals through 32 contests. She quarterbacks Clarksons ninth-rated power play with 21 points (4-17) while on the man-advantage. Ambrose has been named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Month three times this season (October, December, February). Ambrose, along with Rattray, helped Canadas U22 team win Gold Medal at the 2013 Meco Cup in Germany in early January Skirrow is closing out her collegiate career on a high note as the Knights fourth-leading scorer with 15 goals and 13 assists. She has recorded six power-play tallies, a shorthanded marker and four game-winners Vanessa Gagnon has scored a goal in each of the last three games, and is Clarksons top faceoff specialist, winning 55% of her draws Clarkson is 22-4 when scoring first and 20-2 when leading through two periods.