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Clarkson, SLU women’s hockey teams set to square off for weekend series

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POTSDAM - The 2013-14 season opener could not have gone much better for the Clarkson University women’s hockey team as the nationally-ranked Golden Knights skated to an overwhelming 12-1 victory over Rochester Institute of Technology this past Saturday afternoon at Cheel Arena.

Clarkson, guided by sixth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers and assistant coach Matt Kelly, are striving for a banner year this winter and certainly lived up to preseason expectations with the convincing win over the Tigers.

Rated third in the national polls and first in the ECAC Hockey Coaches’ preseason rankings, Clarkson will look to continue its fine play when its battles archrival St. Lawrence University in a non-league home-and-home series this weekend. The Knights host the Saints at 7 p.m. on Friday and then travel down Route 11 on Saturday for an afternoon game at Appleton Arena beginning at 3 p.m.

Ten different Clarkson players scored goals in the victory over RIT and 14 Knights recorded at least one point as the Green and Gold set a school-record for most goals scored in a game, breaking the old mark of 11. Defenseman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT), who was named ECAC Rookie of the Year last season, showed no signs of a sophomore slump as she led the Clarkson offensive barrage with three goals and two assists.

On pace to become Clarkson’s all-time leading scorer, senior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) tallied one goal and two assists, as did classmates Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE)and Vanessa Plante (Riviere-du-Loup, QUE). Rattray now has 118 career points on 49 goals and 69 assists through 107 games. The all-time Clarkson scoring mark is 148 points (50-98).

The Knights led 5-0 late in the first period before RIT registered its first shot on goal. Senior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) recorded three assists in the balanced offensive effort. Senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) chipped in one goal and one assist as did her sister, sophomore Cayley. Cayley Mercer was playing in her first game for the Knights after sitting out all of last year recovering from an injury. Freshman Genevieve Bannon (Candiac, QUE) also tallied a goal and an assist in her first collegiate game. Senior Shelby Nisbet (Wiseton, SASK) and sophomore Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, SASK) and Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) also scored goals.

The Knights outshot the Tigers 44-13 and dominated on specialty teams, going 4-of-9 on the power play while killing off both RIT man-advantage opportunities. Two-time ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year, senior Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) was called upon to make just nine saves through 40 minutes of action. Junior Jenna Boss (Little Canada, MN) made her first NCAA appearance in the third period and stopped all three shots she faced.

After playing St. Lawrence this weekend, Clarkson has another home-and-home matchup on October 11-12 against Syracuse. The Green and Gold then take on national powerhouse Mercyhurst for a two-game series at Cheel on October 18-19 before beginning ECAC Hockey play at Cornell on October 25.

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