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Clarkson women host BC in NCAA hockey tournament opener

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POTSDAM - Making their third NCAA Tournament appearance in the program’s 11-year history, the ECAC Hockey regular season champion, 3rd/4th-ranked Clarkson University women’s hockey team will host the 5th-ranked Boston College Eagles in the quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at 4 pm at Cheel Arena.

Led by co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant coach Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights enter the tournament with a record of 28-5-5. Their 19-game unbeaten streak was snapped on Sunday afternoon in a 1-0 loss to Cornell in the ECAC Hockey Championship game held in Cheel. The Green and Gold overwhelmed Quinnipiac in the semifinal round, winning 6-0. Boston College is 27-6-3 overall and is fresh off a 3-2 loss to rival Boston University in the Hockey East Championship.

Clarkson is winless in two NCAA appearances, losing 5-3 on the road to Boston University last year, coupled with a 3-2 overtime loss at Minnesota back in 2010. This year marks the first time the Knights will host an NCAA game with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line.

Senior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) has been named a Top-3 Patty Kazmaier Award Finalist given to the top player in the nation. She recorded two assists in the Knights’ 6-0 win over Quinnipiac in the ECAC semifinals on Saturday and is currently second in the nation with 59 points on 28 goals and 31 assists. She was named the ECAC Hockey Player of the Year last Friday.

On the defensive end, senior goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) has been very impressive, as she allowed only one goal in four ECAC playoff games. After shutting out Dartmouth twice in the quarterfinals, Howe blanked Quinnipiac before allowing a single goal to Cornell in the championship game. She leads the nation with a 1.05 goals-against average and her 14 shutouts are also best in the country.

The Knights boast the best scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 1.05 goals per game, coupled with the second-best scoring offense as they score 3.61 goals per contest. Clarkson also has the best penalty-killing unit in the country, preventing 93.3% of opponents’ power-play chances.

Sophomore defender Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) has been far and away the most explosive defender this year. She was named a co-winner of ECAC Hockey’s Best Defensive-Defensemen and was also a Top 10 Kazmaier Award Finalist. Her 50 points are 10 more than any other defenseman in the nation and she averages 1.35 points per game on 14 goals and 36 assists.

Sophomore Amanda Skarupa, who has tallied 25 goals and 16 assists on the year, leads Boston College offensively, while senior Corinne Boyles has started all but five games in net. She enters this weekend with a record of 23-6-2, including three shutouts, and a 1.62 goals-against average. The Eagles have the fourth best scoring offense in the country and the third best winning percentage at .792.

The winner will move on to play the winner of the Cornell-Mercyhurst matchup in the Frozen Four next weekend in Hamden, Connecticut. The other side of the bracket includes matchups between Minnesota and Boston University, and Wisconsin and Harvard.

Clarkson is 3-5-3 against Boston College all-time, with the last victory coming in October of 2009. In their last meeting, Boston College defeated Clarkson 5-1 in Potsdam on January 3, 2013 for its second straight win in the series. The Eagles have outscored the Knights 24-17 in the series, which began with a 1-0 BC victory on January 1, 2005 in Lake Placid.

KNIGHT KNOTES: The Golden Knights won the ECAC regular season title for the first time in the program’s 11-year history with a 2-1 overtime win against Union on February 22nd. Clarkson had its 19 game unbeaten streak snapped against Cornell in the ECAC Championship game … The Knights have outscored their opponents 137-40, including a 85-22 margin over the past 12 games … Clarkson has been especially dominant in the first period, outscoring the opposition 48-12 in the opening 20 minutes … The Knights are 27-0-4 when scoring first and 26-0-3 when leading through two periods … The Knights have the best penalty kill in the country, denying 93.3% of opponents’ power-play opportunities … Jamie Lee Rattray became the Green and Gold’s all-time leading scorer this season and has tallied 174 (76-98) points for her career. She is second in the nation with 59 points (28-31) this season … Clarkson’s all-time win leader in goal, Erica Howe has a career record of 87-32-15, including 29 shutouts. Two-time ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year, she boasts a .932 career save percentage and a 1.56 goals-against average. She leads the country with 14 shutouts this season after recording two against Dartmouth in the quarterfinals and one against Quinnipiac in the semis … Brittany Styner reached the coveted Century Mark earlier this year and now has a career total of 107 points (30-77), including 44 (12-32) this season … Carly Mercer is now the second all-time leading scorer in program history. She now has 150 career points, including 97 assists and is tied with Rattray standing one helper away from becoming the Knights’ all-time leading playmaker … Erin Ambrose leads all defenders in the country in scoring, putting up 1.35 points per game (14-36-50), as well as six power play goals. She has 10 more points than the next closest defender in the country.

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