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Clarkson women look to reach ECAC hockey title game on home ice

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POTSDAM - Fresh off a sweep of Dartmouth College in the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals, the 2nd/3rd-ranked Clarkson University women’s hockey team will look to earn a berth in the ECAC Hockey Championship game when it hosts Quinnipiac University in the conference semifinals on Saturday afternoon at 1p.m. at Cheel Arena.

The game is the first of two semifinal matchups on the day, as Harvard will take on Cornell following the first game, slated for a 4 p.m. faceoff. The winners will play in the ECAC Championship on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. The Championship game will be video streamed live on ESPN3 by WCKN-TV from Cheel Arena.

Led by co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant coach Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights boast a 27-4-5 overall record and are unbeaten in their last 18 games (15-0-3). The Green and Gold claimed the 2013-14 ECAC Hockey regular season title with a 16-2-4 league mark.

The Knights swept Dartmouth in the conference quarterfinals with a pair of 2-0 victories last weekend. Senior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) scored two power-play goals to pick up the win on Friday afternoon, and senior netminder Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) stopped all 16 shots she faced for her second straight shutout on Saturday afternoon.

Rattray has been the most dominant skater all season for the Knights, as her 55 points (28-29) are third best in the country. After adding her two power-play goals last weekend, she now leads the country with nine tallies with the man-advantage.

Rattray and sophomore defenseman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) have been named as Top 10 Finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented to the best women’s hockey player in the nation.

The defense kept Dartmouth off the scoreboard all weekend, and Howe was impressive in both games. Saving a combined 31 shots, Howe moved up into first in the nation with a 1.05 goals-against average. She has started every game in net for the Knights and her .819 winning percentage is third best in the country. Howe is tied for the national lead in shutouts with 13.

Saturday’s game relied on many contributions from underclassmen, as senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) was the only member of her class to record a point. Sophomore Cayley Mercer (Exeter, ONT) scored the first goal with assists from classmate Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, SASK) and older sister, Carly. Junior Christine Lambert (Thetford Mines, QUE) netted the second goal with assists from sophomore Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) and freshman Genevieve Bannon (Candiac, QUE).

Ambrose has been impressive all year from the blueline with 48 points. Her 35 assists are second overall in the country and she has 10 more points than the next closest defender.

Ranked seventh in the national polls, the Bobcats locked down the fourth seed in the ECAC tournament and swept St. Lawrence in the quarterfinals. Quinnipiac won 5-0 on Friday evening before completing the sweep with a 2-1 win on Saturday. Qunnipiac, guided by former Clarkson head coach Rick Seeley, owns a 22-5-9 overall record and is unbeaten in its last six games (5-0-1). The Bobcats posted an 11-4-7 ECAC Hockey mark.

Clarkson went 1-0-1 against the Bobcats this season, winning 3-0 in Hamden and skating to a 3-3 tie at home. The Knights are 17-5-3 all-time against Quinnipiac and are currently on a four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) in the series.

Senior Kelly Babstock leads the team with 49 points while junior goaltender Chelsea Laden has gone 19-5-9 with a 1.36 goals-against average on the year.

KNIGHT KNOTES:The Golden Knights won the ECAC regular season title for the first time in the program’s 11-year history with a 2-1 overtime win against Union on February 22nd. Clarkson has gone unbeaten in 18 straight games (15-0-3), good for the second longest active streak in the country … The Knights have outscored their opponents 131-39, including a 79-21 margin over the past 10 games … Clarkson has been especially dominant in the first period, outscoring the opposition 47-11 in the opening 20 minutes … The Knights are 26-0-4 when scoring first and 25-0-3 when leading through two periods … The Knights have the second best penalty kill in the country, denying 93.1% of opponents’ power-play opportunities … Jamie Lee Rattray became the Green and Gold’s all-time leading scorer this season and has tallied 172 (76-96) points for her career. She is third in the nation with 57 points this season … Clarkson’s all-time win leader in goal, Erica Howe has a career record of 86-31-15, including 28 shutouts. Two-time ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year, she boasts a .932 career save percentage and a 1.58 goals-against average. She is tied for first in the country with 13 shutouts this season after recording two against Dartmouth last weekend in the quarterfinals … Brittany Styner reached the coveted Century Mark earlier this year and now has a career total of 104 points (30-74), including 41 (12-29) this season … Carly Mercer is now the second all-time leading scorer in program history after recording an assist against Dartmouth last weekend. She now has 149 career points, including 97 assists and is just two helpers away from becoming the Knights’ all-time leading playmaker … Erin Ambrose leads all defenders in the country in scoring, putting up 1.33 points per game (13-35-48), as well as six power play goals. She has 10 more points than the next closest defender in the country.

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