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Clarkson women open ECAC hockey season at Central NY rivals

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POTSDAM - After a tough, two-game series against a national powerhouse, things don’t get any easier for the Clarkson University women’s hockey team this weekend.

Guided by sixth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights open ECAC Hockey play this weekend with a trip to Central New York. Ranked fifth in both the national polls, Clarkson battles defending conference champion Cornell at Lynah Rink in Ithaca on Friday, beginning at 4 p.m. On Saturday, the Green and Gold make the trip over to Hamilton, to face off against Colgate at Starr Rink., 3 p.m. faceoff.

Led by senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior assistant captains Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE) and Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT), Clarkson stands at 5-1-1.

The Knights were hitting on all cylinders going into this past weekend’s games against Mercyhurst, but the ninth-ranked Lakers enjoyed the better of the play for most of the series at Cheel Arena, handing Clarkson a 2-0 Loss on Friday and a 1-1 tie on Saturday. Entering the weekend the Knights had outscored their opponents 27-5 through the first five games and had yet to trail in a game.

Senior goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) was strong in the crease against Mercyhurst and gave Clarkson a chance in both games. She posted 27 saves on Friday and 26 more on Saturday against the Lakers. Starting all seven games this season, Howe is ranked among the top five goaltenders in the country, boasting a .954 save percentage and a 1.04 goals against average.

Sophomore defender Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) leads Clarkson in scoring with 12 points and seven goals. She tops the nation’s defensemen in points and leads the country in power play goals with four. Carly Mercer also has double figures in the point column with 10 points on four goals and six assists. Rattray follows with eight points (3-5). Both Rattray and Mercer are in Clarkson’s exclusive Century Club with 123 (51-72) and 115 (43-72) career points, respectively.

AT CORNELL FRIDAY

Coming off a 27-win campaign Cornell is once again expected to be one of the top teams in the country and enters the weekend ranked third/fourth in the national polls. Guided by ninth-year head coach Doug Derraugh, the Big Red opened their season over the weekend at Lynah with a dominant effort in a series sweep of Northeastern. Cornell skated to a 6-2 win on Saturday and shut out the Huskies 3-0 on Sunday.

Clarkson leads its all-time series against Cornell, 11-8-2. The teams are 2-2-1 in the last five games of the series. Last season, each won on its home ice with the Knights taking a 2-1 game at Cheel and the Big Red answering back with a 3-1 victory at Lynah.

AT COLGATE SATURDAY

Colgate, which opened its season in early October, takes a 2-4 record into Friday’s game against St. Lawrence prior to hosting the Knights. Guided by second-year head coach Greg Fargo, the Raiders spilt a series against RIT in Rochester this past weekend. Colgate was shut out by the Tigers 2-0 on Friday, but came back with a 2-1 overtime triumph on Saturday. Colgate also won 1-0 at Connecticut on October 12.

The Knights lead the all-time series against Colgate, 9-7-4. Clarkson is 3-1-1 in the last five games of the series. Last season, each won on the other’s home ice with the Knights losing 2-1 at Cheel and winning 3-1 at Starr Rink.

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