POTSDAM - Returning home to Cheel Arena after a lengthy road trip, the Clarkson University womens hockey team will play its first ECAC Hockey games in Potsdam since early December when it hosts traditional league powers Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend.
The Golden Knights face off against the Crimson, the number-two ranked team in the country, on Friday at 7 p.m. and then battle the Big Green on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Guided by fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers and assistant Matt Kelly, Clarkson is ranked seventh in the national polls with an 18-6 overall record. The Knights, led by junior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior assistant captain Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB) are tied for second place in the ECAC Hockey standings with a 10-2 league mark.
The Knights closed out a four-game road trip in Central NY over the weekend by splitting a pair of 3-1 games. On Friday, Clarkson avenged its first conference loss of the season by skating past Colgate at Starr Rink in Hamilton. The following afternoon in Ithaca, Clarkson came up short against fourth-ranked Cornell at Lynah Rink. Senior Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT) tallied a pair of second-period, specialty-team goals, connecting shorthanded and on the power play, as the Knights overcame a 1-0 first-period deficit against the Raiders. Sophomore Christine Lambert (Thetford Mines, QUE) also scored and junior Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) tied the Clarkson record for career wins in goal at 49 with 17 saves. The Green and Gold battled the nationally-ranked Big Red tough for 60 minutes, but came up short as they suffered only their second conference loss of the season. Junior Shelby Nisbet (Wiseton, SASK) tallied the Clarkson goal.
A two-time recipient of ECAC Goaltender of the Month (October, November) and a four-time selection as conference Goaltender of the Week, Howe backstops a Clarkson defense that is ranked fifth in Division I in goals allowed at 1.71. Howe boasts a .932 save percentage, a 1.75 goals against average and four shutouts this season. She has 13 career whitewashes and is one win away from setting the new Clarkson mark for career victories with a 49-23-10 overall record.
Clarksons leading scorer, junior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) has 16 goals and 17 assists through 22 games this season, and is closing in on the century mark with 96 career points (42-54) through 92 games. Rattray is tied for the Division I lead in game-winning goals with six. Mercer is also about to eclipse the 100-point scoring mark with 31 goals and 64 assists in 98 career games. The Knights captain is the teams leading playmaker with 22 assists this season, and records 31 points through 22 games. The top scoring freshman defenseman in the country, Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) has tallied 24 points, including 22 assists through 20 games.
Harvard has been just about unbeatable this season sporting a 16-1-1 overall record and a first-place 13-0 ECAC Hockey mark. The Crimson, guided by long-time head coach Katey Stone, have outscored their opponents 73-12 this season and have allowed only five goals in league play. Harvards lone setback was a 2-1 defeat at Boston University on November 18. This past weekend, the Crimson closed out a five-game home stand by defeating Rensselaer (4-1) and Union (1-0).
After suffering through a slump in November, Dartmouth has picked up its play and enters the North Country riding a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1). Guided by head coach Mark Hudak, the Big Green, who play at St. Lawrence on Friday, own 12-5-3 record overall and a sixth-place 7-4-2 league slate. Dartmouth defeated Union (3-0) and tied Rensselaer (2-2) last weekend.