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Clarkson women face BU in NCAA Division I Hockey Tournament opener

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POTSDAM - Adding another superlative to the best season ever in the 10-year history of the program, Clarkson University women’s hockey is just one of eight teams in the country to have earned a berth in the prestigious NCAA Tournament.

Guided by fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights will be making their second appearance ever in NCAA postseason play when they battle Boston University in the quarterfinal round of the national tournament. Clarkson will face off against the third-seeded Terriers on Saturday in a 3 p.m. game at Walter Brown Arena in Boston.

Tickets for the NCAA quarterfinal game at Boston University will be $6 for adults and $4 for students, children and senior citizens. For more information, contact the Agganis Arena Ticket Office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at 617-353-4628.

The four winners of the one-game quarterfinal round will advance to the 13th annual NCAA Women’s Hockey Championship Tournament to be play at Ridder Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Semifinal games will take place on Friday, March 22, and the championship game will be played on Sunday, March 24.

Owning the best record ever in the program’s history, Clarkson stands at 28-9 overall. The Green and Gold finished in a second-place tie in the ECAC Hockey standings, one point out of first with an 18-4 conference mark. Ranked 6th/7th in the latest national polls, the Knights, led by junior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB), have been impressive all year and have set numerous team and individual records. Clarkson entered postseason play by winning six of the eight games in February to finish with their best league record ever.

On Saturday in the semifinal round of the ECAC Hockey Championship Tournament, Clarkson found it tough to beat a national power three times in a season when it lost to Harvard 4-2 at Lynah Rink in Ithaca. The Knights defeated the Crimson twice (3-1, 3-1) during the regular-season.

Clarkson began postseason play by hosting its fourth ever postseason quarterfinal series at Cheel Arena. The Knights swept a challenging Rensselaer squad (3-2ot, 5-2) on March 1-2.

Four Clarkson standouts were honored with ECAC Hockey postseason awards. After another outstanding campaign, Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) highlighted the Knights’ postseason conference accolades when she was selected as the 2012-13 ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year. Joining Howe on the ECAC Hockey All-star teams were classmates Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) and Carly Mercer, and freshman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT).

Honored as ECAC Goaltender of the Year for the second consecutive season, Howe is a mainstay for the Golden Knights. Also named a First-Team All-Star, Howe has played more minutes than any other goaltender in the nation (2,158:17) and posts the second most wins in the country (27). She ranks among the best netminders in Division I with a .933 save percentage and a 1.67 GAA.

Rattray and Ambrose, who was also chosen as the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year, were named to the league’s Second-Team All-Star squad, while Mercer was selected to the Third Team.

A clutch goal scorer, who is tied for the national lead in game-winning goals (9), Rattray powers the Clarkson offense. The Knights’ leading scorer, she has tallied a school-record 51 points (22-29).

Ambrose is the leading rookie scorer from the blueline nationally, averaging 1.06 PPG with five goals and a Clarkson record 30 assists through 33 contests.

Mercer is the Knights’ second-leading scorer with 40 points on 17 goals and 23 assists. She has tallied six power-play markers and six game-winners.

Champions of the Hockey East regular-season and tournament, Boston University owns a 26-5-3 overall record. The Terriers, who have won eight straight, are 16-2 at home this season. Boston University went 4-2 against ECAC Hockey competition this season, including two-game splits with Cornell and Harvard.

Clarkson is 1-2-1 all-time against Boston University. The teams last played on October 21, 2011, battling to a 2-2 tie at Cheel Arena.

KNIGHT KNOTES: Clarkson Women’s Hockey is celebrating its 10th season in style. The Knights have skated to the best season in the program’s history at 28-9 and posted their best ECAC Hockey mark ever at 18-4 … The Clarkson coaching staff, fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant Matt Kelly have surpassed the century mark in career victories with a 103-62-22 record guiding the Golden Knights … Clarkson has posted an 8-6 record against nationally-ranked teams this season and went 5-5 against the other seven teams in the 2013 NCAA Tournament ... Knights are 2-2 against Hockey East competition this season with a pair of wins over Vermont (4-1, 5-1) at Cheel Arena and home losses to Boston College (5-1) and Northeastern (4-3). Clarkson was without the services of Jamie Lee Rattray and Erin Ambrose for the games against BC and NU. Both players were at the Meco Cup in Germany, helping to lead Canada’s U22 to the Golde Medal ... The Knights are 13-5 in games away from Cheel … Forward Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT) and defenseman Hailey Wood are the only two seniors on the Green and Gold’s roster, and are the only two current Knights to have played in an NCAA postseason game … Clarkson was well represented on the 2013 ECAC Hockey All-Star team with four Knights earning postseason honors. Erica Howe was named ECAC Goaltender of the Year and a First-Team all-star. Ambrose was selected as the league’s Rookie of the Year and was joined by Rattray on the conference’s Second-Team all-star squad. Carly Mercer was honored on the Third Team ... Howe has backboned the Knights’ stingy defensive effort, which is allowing only 1.70 goals per game (7th lowest in the country). Howe has played more minutes (2158:17) than any other goaltender in the NCAA. She ranks in the top 10 in save percentage (.933) and goals against average (1.67) and is tied for third in shutouts with six. Howe is Clarkson’s all-time winningest goaltender with a 59-26-10 record, including 15 career shutouts … Rattray and Mercer joined Clarkson’s elite 100-point club this season … Rattray is averaging over a point per game with 48 goals and 66 assists for 114 points through 105 games. She has tallied a school-record 51 points this season on 22 goals (two shy of tying the school record) and 29 assists through 35 games. Rattray is tied for the nation’s lead in game-winning goals with nine. She has a current six-game point scoring streak with five goals and four assists since mid-February … The Knights’ captain, Mercer has produced 104 career points (39-65) in 111 games. She is second on the Knights in scoring this season with 17 goals and 23 assists in 36 games. Mercer led the Knights in conference goals (12) ... The nation’s leading rookie scorer from the blueline, Ambrose is enjoying a banner season in her collegiate debut. She is one of only three defensemen in the country who are averaging over a point per game. She has a 1.06 ppg average with a school-record 30 assists and five goals through 33 contests … Skirrow is closing out her collegiate career on a high note as the Knights’ fourth-leading scorer with 15 goals and 12 assists. She is one game away from playing in the most games ever (151) by a Clarkson Women’s Hockey player …Vanessa Gagnon has scored a goal in each of the last four games … Clarkson is 22-4 when scoring first and 20-2 when leading through two periods.

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