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Clarkson women fall to Boston College

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POTSDAM - Three third-period goals ended any chance of a comeback by the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team as the second-ranked Golden Knights fell to fifth-ranked Boston College 5-1 Thursday evening at Cheel Arena.

The Golden Knights fell to 15-4 overall this season, their second loss in the last four games, while Boston College remained unbeaten in its last 13 contests and improved to 12-3-2. Clarkson will face its second ranked opponent in as many days when it hosts ninth-ranked Northeastern University on Friday at 3:00 pm. Clarkson is currently without junior Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT), the team’s leading scorer, and freshman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, ONT), the team’s top scoring defensemen. The pair is playing with Canada’s National Women’s Under-22/Development Team at the 2013 Meco Cup in Germany this week.

The Golden Eagles took little time getting on the scoreboard in the first period. Boston College took possession of the puck right off the face off and maintained control until Clarkson was whistled for a penalty just 43 seconds into the contest. The Eagles quickly capitalized with an extra skater as defenders Dru Burns and Lexi Bender passed the puck along the blue line to set up the scoring chance. From there, Bender delivered a cross ice pass that found Emily Pfalzer by the right circle and the sophomore slid a shot around Clarkson goaltender Erica Howe (Ottawa, ONT).

The Eagles pace slowed after the opening drop of the puck, but Boston College was able to pick up another score midway through the period when Haley Skarupa sent a pass across the crease to Dana Trivigno, who was able to quickly stuff the puck in before the Clarkson defense could completely recover. Emily Field also earned an assist on the play.

The Golden Knights had their chances in the first period, finishing just two shots shy of Boston College’s total (11-9), and there were none greater than Clarkson’s 5-on-3 opportunity that lasted for more than 90 seconds. The Eagles were whistled for a hooking penalty and on the ensuing power play were nipped again on a cross-checking call in front of the net. Clarkson had several solid chances on the Boston College net, but each shot was expertly rebounded by the Eagles, with the puck being carried all the way to the other end of the ice, effectively removing significant time from the extra skater chances for Clarkson.

Following a scoreless second period, Boston College gained an insurance goal early in the third period with Taylor Wasylk scoring her fifth tally of the season. Up by three goals, the Knights could have folded and finished off the period quietly, but Clarkson ended Boston College’s shutout bid with a goal late in the frame. Junior Shelby Nisbet (Wiseton, SASK) ripped a slap shot from the circle at the 13:36 mark, with assists going to classmates Vanessa Gagnon (St. Constant, QUE) and Brittany Styner (Calgary, ALB).

The Golden Knights picked up some speed in their skating after the goal, but the momentum was quickly reversed when Clarkson was called for another penalty. The Eagles once again took little time in capitalizing on the play as Ashley Motherwell tipped in a shot at the 14:39 mark. Boston College tacked on another goal against the crestfallen Knights as first-liners Melissa Bizzari and Alex Carpenter combined on a two-on-one goal with Bizzari tipping in a pass just inside the left post.

Erica Howe finished with 27 saves in the game, while Boston College’s Corinne Boyles made 28 stops for the win.

The clear difference in the game was the Golden Eagles effort on the power play as the team went 3-for-5 in its opportunities. Clarkson was 0-for-6 with an extra skater.

SLU HALTS NORTHEASTERN

Junior Rylee Smith had two goals and an assist and sophomore goalie Carmen MacDonald turned in a 27-save performance, leading the St. Lawrence University women’s hockey team to an impressive 6-0 victory over nationally-ranked Northeastern at Appleton Arena.

The win is the first for St. Lawrence (11-7-1) against a nationally-ranked opponent in 2012-13, while Northeastern (10-6-2) was shut out for the first time this season.

“Well that was a great start to the second half,” said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells, whose team improves to 3-0-1 against Hockey East. “We had some super efforts in key areas. It was a good thing we had a cushion going into the third period as Northeastern really came at us.”

Though the two teams exchanged chances throughout the first period, the Saints scored twice in a span of 2:24 for a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Ellie Williams’ first goal of the year opened the scoring at 14:44, as she pounced on a rebound in front of Northeastern goalie Chloe Desjardins off a bid by Jackie Wand. Smith would then create a turnover in the neutral zone to earn a breakaway, scoring on Desjardins with a slick move for her seventh of the year.

St. Lawrence would own the majority of scoring chances in the second period thanks in part to several quality power play tries. Though they failed to convert with the extra skater, Kayla Raniwsky’s fifth goal of the year came at 15:02 for a 3-0 advantage. Rookies Jenna Marks and Kailee Heidersbach set up the lone goal of the period.

Though Northeastern came after MacDonald early in the third, with quality chances for bot Kendall Coyne and Rachel Llanes, the Saints’ netminder made several solid stops while the defense did an excellent job of keeping the puck away from danger.

Smith would tack on her second goal of the game at 7:50 of the third for a 4-0 lead. Senior Brooke Fernandez launched a slap shot that Desjardins stopped, but the rebound squirted free to Smith for the easy finish.

Senior captain Kelly Sabatine, who also assisted on Smith’s second goal, made it 5-0 at 13:50 with her 10th goal of the season, assisted by both Smith and Fernandez. Sophomore Jessica Hon would cap the game’s scoring in the final minute, tacking on the sixth goal at 19:21. Classmate Jessa McAuliffe had the lone assist.

MacDonald earned the shut out with 12 saves in the third period, while Desjardins also finished with 27 saves for the Huskies. St. Lawrence was 0-for-4 on the power play, while Northeastern finished 0-for-2.

St. Lawrence will look to carry momentum into Friday as the team hosts nationally-ranked No. 5 Boston College in a rematch of last year’s NCAA Tournament quarterfinals starting at 3 p.m.

AMBROSE NAMED ROOKIE OF THE MONTH

The top scoring rookie defenseman in the country, Clarkson University Women’s Hockey’s Erin Ambrose was honored as ECAC Hockey’s Rookie of the Month for December.

The Keswick, Ont. native recorded at least one assist from the blueline in each of the Golden Knights’ three games over the month, including two assists in the 5-4 win at Syracuse on December 8. She also set up the winning score in the 3-2 victory over the Orange at Cheel Arena on December 7.

Ambrose, who was also selected as the league’s Rookie of the Month in October, has tallied 21 points, including 19 assists, through 16 games for the second-ranked Golden Knights.

Ambrose, along with junior teammate Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, ONT), is currently participating with Canada’s National Women’s Under-22/Development Team at the 2013 Meco Cup, taking place January 2-6, 2013, in Buchloe, Füssen and Ravensburg, Germany.

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