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Cornell, Harvard oust SLU, Clarkson in semifinals

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ITHACA — The goal of an ECAC Hockey championship slipped away for both Clarkson and St. Lawrence University’s women’s teams Saturday at Cornell University as both squads suffered 4-2 semifinal losses.

Fifth-seeded SLU (19-14-5) fell behind 2-0 to top-seed Cornell, then rallied to tie the game 2-2 only to see the Big Red score two goals in the final 1 minute, 38 seconds of the game to gain a win.

Clarkson (28-9), the No. 2 seed, lost to No. 3 Harvard after defeating the Crimson twice during the regular season.

Harvard will meet the Big Red for the championship at 1 p.m. today. Cornell, Harvard and Clarkson will all advance to the eight-team NCAA tournament next weekend.

CORNELL 4, ST. LAWRENCE 2

The Saints upset Cornell (26-5-1) in last year’s championship game in Ithaca and were hoping for a second straight title after rallying to tie the game late in the second period.

Cornell took advantage of a defensive breakdown in the first period to take at 1-0 lead at 17:37 on the first of three goals by Taylor Wood.

Just 29 seconds after the goal, SLU’s Brooke Fernandez was called for checking and the Big Red scored on the ensuing power play on a shot from Woods at 19:08 to lead 2-0 after one.

The Saints began to control play in the second period, outshooting Cornell 12-6.

SLU cut the lead to one goal when Rylee Smith scored on a shot from deep in the circle at 14:43 of the second period. Smith’s shot, which came from near the boards, sailed just under the crossbar.

The Saints tied the game shortly after killing a hooking penalty to Jacqueline Wand. Smith and Kelly Sabatine skated in on a two-on-zero breakaway against Big Red goalie Lauren Slebodnick.

Sabatine skated near the crease, then sent a pass over to Smith who scored at 18:09 to make it 2-2.

SLU had a chance to take the lead late in the third period with 30 seconds of a two-man advantage and defenseman Amanda Boulier got a few shots off on Slebodnick.

Sabatine had a shorthanded breakaway with 4:32 left but Cornell’s Laura Fortino got in her way enough to force a weak shot.

The Big Red scored the game-winner with just 98 seconds left on a redirected shot by Woods. Brianne Jenner added an empty-net goal with 39.1 seconds left.

“That is the way I believe the game ought to be played,” Saints coach Chris Wells said. “Two teams giving everything they have, working hard on both ends of the ice.”

HARVARD 4, CLARKSON 2

During the regular season Clarkson had Harvard’s number, beating the Crimson twice by 3-1 scores.

But the game was different Saturday as Harvard (24-5-3) scored the first three goals and was never seriously threatened by the Golden Knights.

Mark Parker opened the scoring for the Crimson with a fluke goal at 2:06 of the first period.

Parker took a shot that hit Clarkson’s Carly Mercer in the shoulder and bounced over goalie Erica Howe and into the net.

The Crimson outshot Clarkson 10-4 in the second period and extended its lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal from Jillian Dempsey at 15:02.

Parker then sent a pass from behind the net to Miye D’Oench, who made it 3-0 Crimson at 3:11 of the third period.

Clarkson scored its first goal at 12:22 of the third on a shot from Jamie Lee Rattray, which was the first goal the Crimson allowed in the postseason.

Parker scored a shorthanded goal into an empty net at 17:20 to give Harvard a 4-1 advantage, and Vanessa Gagnon scored for Clarkson with 16 seconds left.

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