POTSDAM - Following a two-week break from the ice, the 6th-ranked Clarkson University womens hockey team will face another large test when 4th/5th-ranked University of North Dakota comes to Cheel Arena for a pair of non-conference games this weekend.
Game time is 3 p.m. for both the Friday and Saturday matchups.
Led by co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant coach Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights are riding high after a pair of convincing road wins over the Princeton Tigers and Quinnipiac Bobcats. Clarkson dominated the Tigers by the final score of 7-0 on Friday the 22nd before shutting out then #5 Quinnipiac 3-0 the last time out on the ice on the ice on November 23.
After such an impressive weekend, the Knights, led by senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior assistant captains Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE) and Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT), jumped from 8th to 6th in the national polls. Clarkson stands at 12-3-2 overall with a 5-2-1 record in ECAC Hockey, good for a tie for third place in the conference.
Adding to a hot streak in which the Knights have tallied at least a point in eight of nine games, two seniors received monthly honors. Goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) was named ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Month and Rattray took home ECAC Player of the Month honors for the month of November.
Howe has recorded three straight shutouts, five in the month of November, and has seven shutouts on the year, two more than anyone else in the nation. She is also currently first in the country in goals-against average, allowing just over one goal per game (1.01).
Rattray sits at third in the nation with 1.59 points per game, including 12 goals and 15 assists on the season. She is averaging 0.71 goals per game, also good for third in the nation, and she has notched two game winning goals on the season. She tallied a goal and four assists against Princeton, and added two goals the following afternoon against Quinnipiac. Rattray is just six points shy of tying the Clarkson career mark for points. She has 60 goals and 82 assists in 123 games, and trails only Britney Selina 10 (148 pts) on the Knights all-time scoring list.
Senior Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) is coming off a weekend in which she scored a goal and added four assists, while sophomore defenseman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) added two goals and four assists for the Green and Gold. Styner leads the team with 16 assists and Ambrose is second on the squad in points with 22, five behind Rattray.
North Dakota enters this weekend with a record of 9-3-2 overall and 7-3-2 in the WCHA. Their previous two series have come against 1st ranked Minnesota and 2nd ranked Wisconsin. North Dakota went 1-1-2 in that span, tying each team and defeating Minnesota on the road, 3-2 on November 17, snapping the Gophers record 62-game winning streak.
Entering the game with the fifth best scoring offense at 3.43 goals per game, the North Dakota offense will test Howe in net all weekend.
Michelle Karvinen leads the team with eight goals and Shelby Amsley-Benzie has started 10 games in net, posting a 2.18 goals-against average on the year.