POTSDAM - Following four straight games against Ivy League opponents, the Clarkson University womens hockey team will take a break from ECAC Hockey play to host the Providence College Friars for a pair of games this weekend at Cheel Arena.
Led by co-head coached Matt and Shannon Desrosiers and assistant coach Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights are ranked seventh and ninth in the national polls and will play both games at 3 p.m. this weekend.
Last weekend the Knights (8-3-2, 3-2-1 ECAC Hockey) skated by the Dartmouth Big Green 3-0, as a pair of freshmen led the way offensively for Clarkson. Jessica Gillham (Uxbridge, ONT) scored her first career goal for the Green and Gold in the first period with an assist from sophomore Cayley Mercer (Exeter, ONT). Genevieve Bannon (Candiac, QUE) added a second goal for Clarkson in the third period with assists from senior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) and sophomore Renata Fast (Burlington, ONT) for her fifth goal of the season. Rattray would also add an empty net goal to put the game away late in the third.
The offense was not the same in Saturdays matchup as the 8th ranked Harvard Crimson came to Cheel and left with a 2-0 road victory. The Knights outshot the Crimson 36-19 but failed to capitalize on all six power play chances they were given and could not get on the scoreboard. Overall, the Knights have been unsuccessful on their last 17 opportunities with an extra skater.
Senior goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) had a very productive weekend, recording 11 saves in her fourth shutout of the season against Dartmouth. She is now tied for second in the nation in shutouts. She also stopped 17 shots against Harvard and allowed a power play goal and a goal off of a tough rebound in front. She currently stands at fifth in the nation in goals-against average, allowing just 1.25 goals per game.
The Knights are fifth in the country in scoring defense (1.31) and ninth in scoring offense (3.38), and Rattray is tied for 3rd in the country with eight goals. She leads the team in goals and points (8-10-18) and is only one assist behind team leader senior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB). Clarkson is outscoring opponents 44-17 on the season, including a 16-9 difference in conference play.
Senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) is one of three Knights tied for second on the team with 14 points, along with Styner and sophomore Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT).
The Friars, out of Hockey East, present a chance for the Knights to get back on track following Sundays loss. Providence comes into the weekend with a record of 4-8 (1-5 Hockey East) and has lost five straight games. Cassidy Carels leads the team with six goals and Corinne Buie has added seven assists for the Friars. Sarah Bryant has started nine games in net, going 4-5 and allowing 29 goals this season.
Clarkson is 3-1-1 overall against Providence, including a 3-0 win in their last meeting in 2011. Rattray recorded a goal and an assist, Carly Mercer and senior Shelby Nisbet (Wiseton, SASK) added goals, and Howe recorded 18 saves to pick up the shutout.
The Knights currently stand at sixth in the ECAC Hockey standings with seven points, one point behind rival St. Lawrence. Cornell is in first place with 11 points.