POTSDAM - By taking eight wins out of 10 games in league play during the New Year the Clarkson University womens hockey team has moved into a tie atop the ECAC Hockey standings with a 15-3 conference mark.
Guided by fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers and assistant coach Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights have 30 points in the league, along with Cornell, with four games remaining in their regular season. Both the Knights and Big Red are one point ahead of Harvard, which still has six conference games to play.
Led by junior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior assistant captain Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB), Clarkson is ranked sixth in the national polls with a 23-7 overall record. The Knights are two wins away from setting the single-season record for most wins in the programs 10-year history. The Clarkson coaching staff is also just two wins shy of reaching 100 career victories.
The Knights host their final regular season games of the season this weekend at Cheel Arena, playing Princeton on Friday at 7 p.m. and Quinnipiac on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. The game against the Bobcats is Clarksons Senior Day when the Green and Gold will honor four-year veterans Wood and Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT).
Clarksons Class of 2013 has helped the Knights compile 82 victories over the past four years entering the weekend. Wood and Skirrow have made three appearances in the ECAC Hockey playoffs, including a league championship game berth in 2010, and skated in Clarksons first ever NCAA Tournament game that same season as freshmen.
The Knights are coming off two hard-fought wins in NYs Capital District region over the weekend. On Friday, the Green and Gold skated past Rensselaer 3-1 and on Saturday, Clarkson rallied for a 3-2 victory at Union.
Junior Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE), Skirrow and freshman defenseman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) supplied the goals and junior Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) posted 24 saves in the win over the Engineers at Houston Field House. Gagnon sixth goal of the season, coming with 13 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the Knights to the win over the Dutchwomen at Messa Rink. Ambrose, with her second power-play marker of the weekend, and Skirrow with her 14th goal of the season, also helped key the come-from-behind victory. Howe finished with 22 saves.
Junior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) leads Clarkson in scoring with 42 points, including a team-high 17 goals. She is just three points shy of setting the new single-season point record for the Knights. Mercer follows with 36 points (13-23). The top scoring rookie defenseman in the country, Ambrose is averaging 1.12 points per game with four goals and 25 assists through 26 contests. She is three assists away from establishing the programs single-season assist mark. Ambrose was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week. Skirrow (14-12) and junior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) (9-17) both have 26 points. Howe ranks among the top goaltenders in the nation with a .933 save percentage and a 1.66 goals against average.
Princeton is 9-14-2 overall and in ninth place in the standings at 4-12-2 in the league. The Tigers lost to Colgate (6-1) and Cornell (4-1) this past weekend in New Jersey. Princeton, which plays its last four games on the road is 5-5-2 away from Hobey Baker Rink.
Guided by former Clarkson head coach Rick Seeley, Quinnipiac is unbeaten in its last six games (5-0-1) entering the North Country. The Bobcats swept Cornell and Colgate by 4-1 scores this past weekend in Hamden, CT to improve their record to 17-9-3 and 11-5-2 in the conference, tied for fourth.