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Clarkson women look to get back on track against ECAC rivals

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POTSDAM - Looking to get back on the winning track, the Clarkson University women’s hockey team returns to ECAC Hockey play this weekend by starting a four-game road trip in New England.

Guided by fifth-year co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers and assistant coach Matt Kelly, the Golden Knights faceoff against Brown in Providence, RI on Friday night at 7 p.m., and then take on Yale in New Haven, CT on Saturday afternoon beginning at 4 p.m.

Led by junior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) and senior assistant captain Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT), Clarkson is ranked 5th/6th in the latest national polls with a 15-5 overall record. The Green and Gold currently hold in fourth place in the ECAC Hockey standings with a 7-1 league mark.

Playing without its leading scorer and a standout defenseman, Clarkson closed out non-league play this past weekend at Cheel Arena, dropping two games to a pair of nationally-ranked Hockey East foes. On Friday, the Knights fell to fifth-ranked Boston College 5-1 in their first game since December 8, and then could not hold the lead against 9th/10th-ranked Northeastern on Saturday, losing 4-3.

Clarkson was without the services of junior forward Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) and freshman defenseman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT), who were both in Germany helping to lead Canada’s National Women’s Under-22/Development Team to the Gold Medal at the 2013 Meco Cup.

Among the top 10 scores in Division I, Rattray has tallied 31 points on 15 goals and 16 assists through 18 games. She is tied for the national lead in game-winning goals with five and is tied for fifth in the country in power-play scores with six. She also has one shorthanded marker. Rattray posted one goal and five assists through four games of last week’s international tournament.

Ambrose, who was named ECAC Hockey’s Rookie of the Month for both October and December, is the top scoring freshman defenseman in the country, averaging 1.31 points per game. She is Clarkson’s third-leading scorer with 21 points, including 19 assists through 16 games. Ambrose tallied three assists for the gold-medal winning Canadian team at the Meco Cup last week.

Mercer is Clarkson’s second-leading scorer with 29 points, including a team-high 20 assists. Both Rattray and Mercer are nearing the century mark in scoring with 94 (41-53) and 93 (31-62) points, respectively.

Backstopping Clarkson’s stingy defensive effort is junior Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT). She is listed among the top eight goaltenders in the nation with a .929 save percentage, a 1.85 goals against average and a 14-5 record, including three shutouts. Howe was named ECAC Hockey’s Goaltender of the Month for both October and November.

Brown stands at 3-9-1 overall and is tied for ninth in the ECAC Hockey standings with a 2-6 league slate. The Bears split a non-league series against Maine at Meehan Auditorium last weekend, losing 4-2 on Saturday before winning 6-5 on Sunday. Brown is 1-5-1 at home this season.

Yale, which hosts St. Lawrence on Friday, is 2-12-1 overall and is tied for 11th in the league with a 1-6-1 record. The Bulldogs are 1-6 at Ingalls Rink. Yale lost 3-2 in overtime to Providence this past Saturday at home.

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