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Clarkson women blank Dartmouth in ECAC playoff opener

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POTSDAM - Senior Jamie Lee Rattray’s (Kanata, ONT) pair of power-play goals guided the 3rd-ranked Clarkson University women’s hockey team by the Dartmouth University Big Green 2-0 on Friday afternoon at Cheel Arena.

The top-seeded Golden Knights improve to 26-4-5 on the season and will host the eighth-seeded Big Green (9-19-1) tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. in game two of the best-of-three series. A win will secure the series for the Knights and ensure that Clarkson hosts the ECAC Women’s Hockey Championship next weekend. If Dartmouth wins tomorrow, game three will be played at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Cheel.

Senior goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT) stopped all 15 shots she faced to record her 12th shutout of the season. The Knights keep their streak going as they have now gone unbeaten in 17 straight games (14-0-3).

Dartmouth carried a two-on-one advantage into the Clarkson zone early in the game, but junior defenseman Jennifer Shields (Ingersoll, ONT) laid out and poked the centering pass away to stop the Big Green’s first scoring chance.

The Knights would go on the power-play at the 7:27 mark in the first period and Rattray made Dartmouth pay as she scored with 21 seconds remaining in the power-play. Senior Vanessa Plante (Riviere-du-Loup, QUE) controlled the puck behind the Clarkson net before passing ahead to sophomore Renata Fast (Burlington, ONT). The defender carried the puck into the neutral zone and passed to Rattray right before entering the Dartmouth zone. Rattray weaved between two defenders and beat Dartmouth goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft with a wrist shot to give the Knights the 1-0 lead.

Clarkson would go on another power-play late in the period but the Big Green would hold strong to keep the deficit at 1-0. The Green and Gold outshot Dartmouth 16-3 in the first period and dominated possession throughout the first 20 minutes.

Dartmouth took a holding penalty in the first minute of the third period and Rattray immediately made the Big Green pay as she gained control of the puck behind the Dartmouth net and poked the puck by Holdcroft to put the Knights ahead 2-0. Sophomore Shannon MacAulay (Mt. Herbert, PEI) and senior captain Carly Mercer (Exeter, ONT) were credited with assists on the play.

The final 10 minutes of the game were completely controlled by Clarkson, as the Knights did not allow Dartmouth to get anything going offensively to mount a comeback.

The Knights outshot the Big Green 40-15 on the afternoon and dominated the faceoff circle, winning 43 of 59 opportunities. Clarkson was 2-6 on the power-play while killing off all four Dartmouth attempts with the man-advantage.

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