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Clarkson women look to continue winning ways through final weekend

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POTSDAM - Unbeaten since early December, the Clarkson University women’s hockey team will look to wrap up the regular season on a high note as the Golden Knights host Rensselaer on Friday at 7 p.m. before ending the season with Union College on Saturday afternoon in a 4 p.m. game at Cheel Arena when the Green and Gold will honor their seven, four-year veterans on Senior Day.

The Golden Knights stand at 23-4-5 (14-2-4 ECAC Hockey) and are tied for second place in the conference, one point behind leader Cornell. Clarkson has not lost in 14 straight games, going 11-0-3 in that span. The Knights can finish anywhere in the top three spots in the conference entering the ECAC playoffs.

Clarkson’s Class of 2014 has helped the Knights compile 87 victories over the past four years entering the weekend. Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE), Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT), Carley Mercer (Exeter, ONT), Shelby Nisbet (Wiseton, SASK), Vanessa Plante (Riviere-du-Loup, QUE), Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT) and Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB) have been part of the most successful class in Clarkson’s 11-year history. The seniors have skated in three consecutive 20+-win seasons, made three appearances in the ECAC Hockey playoffs and qualified for the NCAA Tournament last year. Clarkson’s Class of 2014 is on the verge of leading the Green and Gold to their most successful campaign ever over the next several weeks.

Led by co-head coaches Matt and Shannon Desrosiers, and assistant coach Matt Kelly, the Green and Gold are coming off an impressive weekend in which they took down 6th-ranked Harvard 2-1 on Friday night before dismantling Dartmouth 6-1 on Saturday afternoon.

Rattray may have been held without a point last weekend, but she still leads the nation with 51 points (25-26). Three weeks ago she tallied a goal against RPI and a goal and four assists against Union, her second six-point weekend in a row.

Sophomore Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT) continues to stand out as one of the best defenders in the country, leading the nation in points per game from the back line as she has 12 more points than any other defender in the country with 44. Her 33 assists lead all players in the nation.

Howe earned her fourth ECAC Goaltender of the Week award after allowing just two goals in the Knights’ four-point weekend. Her 1.16 GAA is third in the country and she has the fourth highest winning percentage of all goaltenders at .783, starting every single game in net for the Knights this season.

Clarkson got contributions from underclassmen all weekend, as freshman Genevieve Bannon (Candiac, QUE) earned her third ECAC Rookie of the Week honors with two goals and three assists on the weekend. Sophomore Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) added two goals and two assists and sophomore Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, SASK) tallied a goal and two assists on the weekend as well.

RENSSELAER FRIDAY

The Engineers (10-18-3, 6-12-2) have struggled over the past month, going 0-7-1 in their last eight games. The Knights played a role in that stretch, allowing RPI to score first before tacking on five unanswered goals on their way to a 5-1 win on the road earlier this month.

UNION SATURDAY

The Dutchwomen (9-22-1, 4-16-0) enter the weekend on a similar stretch, going 1-10 in their last 11 contests. A lone win against Yale is surrounded by six shutouts as the offense has struggled all season. Clarkson shut out Union 5-0 at the end of January.

KNIGHT KNOTES: Clarkson has gone unbeaten in 14 straight games (11-0-3), good for the second longest active streak in the country … The Knights have outscored their opponents 119-38, including a 75-21 margin over the past 18 games … Clarkson has been especially dominant in the first period, outscoring the opposition 41-11 in the opening 20 minutes … The Knights are 22-0-4 when scoring first and 21-0-3 when leading through two periods … The Knights have the second best penalty kill in the country, denying 93.4% of opponents’ power-play opportunities … Jamie Lee Rattray became the Green and Gold’s all-time leading scorer this season and has tallied 166 (73-93) points for her career. She leads the nation with 51 points this season and currently sits six assists away from becoming the Knights’ all-time leading playmaker … Clarkson’s all-time win leader in goal, Erica Howe has a career record of 82-31-15, including 25 shutouts. Two-time ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year, she boasts a .931 career save percentage and a 1.62 goals-against average. She sits second in the country with 10 shutouts this season … Brittany Styner reached the coveted Century Mark earlier this year and now has a career total of 102 points (30-72), including 39 (12-27) this season … Carly Mercer has tallied a point in 14 of the last 17 games, including two assists against Dartmouth last Saturday… Erin Ambrose leads all defenders in the country in scoring, putting up 1.38 points per game (11-33-44), as well as six power play goals.

She leads the nation with 33 assists.

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