Game Day Skate: Clarkson at Harvard, Minnesota at North Dakota

AES Rankings

  1. Minnesota
  2. Boston College
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Clarkson
  5. Bemidji State
  6. North Dakota
  7. Quinnipiac
  8. Harvard
  9. Boston University
  10. Northeastern

Game Day Highlights

#4 Clarkson at #8 Harvard: The Crimson struggled in a 2-1 loss to Dartmouth last weekend to open their season. They were without last season’s leading scorer Mary Parker, as well as a top-five scorer in Lexie Laing. The defense, which was so strong last season, yielded 33 shots on goal to the Big Green. Harvard has a much tougher test this week against Clarkson, but this is also an opportunity for the team to make a statement and re-assert themselves. The Golden Knights are a perfect 9-0-0 so far, and they’re scoring an average of 4.00 goals per game, with five different players scoring at a point-per-game pace, including rookie forward Loren Gabel. Clarkson goaltender Shea Tiley carries a .951 save percentage into the weekend, and Harvard will be without starter Emerance Maschmeyer, who’s with Team Canada for the Four Nations Cup.

St. Lawrence at #8 Harvard: This weekend features a similarly big match-up for the Saints, who look like they have the pieces in place to really push for a spot in the top third of the ECAC standings this year. Forward Kennedy Marchment and defender Amanda Boulier have been the team’s catalysts, with Megan Armstrong and Kirsten Padalis helping to solidify that blue line. Younger forwards like Justine Reyes and Hannah Miller have performed well so far, but veterans Brooke Webster and Jenna Marks have been a little quiet, and I think St. Lawrence would like to see them more involved in production this weekend. The Saints have still not settled on a starter in net, however, and that’s their biggest area of concern going into this game.

#1 Minnesota at #6 North Dakota: After a 5-1 loss to the Gophers last night, UND has a few things to answer for already in this series. Minnesota put them on their heels early and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, and though North Dakota settled in a little more as the game went along, it’s now a matter of how they will respond tonight. We saw the way the team pushed back against St. Cloud State last weekend, scoring three goals in the final 4:28 to to come back and tie it up. Is that the type of team they’re going to be this season, and can they be that team against Minnesota? In a show of their strengths, the Gophers’ play-making abilities and offensive execution were fully on display in the series opener; they typically do a very good job of finding open space and creating quality chances from there, and that was no different last night. Three of their five goals were scored on the rush, including one breakaway, and that’s an area where the Gophers excel because their defensemen are pretty active about jumping in. If UND hopes to have more success tonight, they need to do a better job defending in transition and picking up those players coming late.

Players to Watch

Cayley Mercer, Forward, Clarkson: Mercer posted back-to-back hat tricks last weekend in the Golden Knights’ series against New Hampshire, so she comes into this weekend red hot. She’s scored in every game so far this season, and out of those nine, six have been multi-point outings.

Shara Jasper, Forward, Lindenwood: The Lions begin College Hockey America play this weekend with a home series against Penn State, and before last week’s bye week, they knocked off New Hampshire and Northeastern on the road. That was due in large part to the play of Jasper, who posted five goals and seven points in those two games.

Abbey Frazer, Defense, Harvard: The Crimson have quite a few losses to make up for on the blue line, and Frazer, who was a solid contributor last year, is one player who is undoubtedly going to have to step up this season. She could make an impact this weekend and help the Crimson’s defensive corps settle in against a high-powered Clarkson offense and an efficient one in St. Lawrence.

2015-16 Team-by-Team Previews: Clarkson Golden Knights

2015-16 Roster | 2015-16 Schedule

Head Coach: Matt Desrosiers (8th Season)
2015-16 Captains: Shannon MacAulay (C), Erin Ambrose (A), Renata Fast (A), Olivia Howe (A)

2014-15 Season Recap

Record: 24-11-3 (16-4-2 ECAC/T-1st place)
ECAC Postseason: Conference semifinals; advanced to ECAC semifinals with quarterfinal series win vs. Dartmouth, eliminated by Cornell in semifinals
NCAA Tournament: Eliminated by Boston College in NCAA quarterfinals

The first game of the 2014-15 season certainly made for an interesting start to the year as the defending national champions fell to ECAC rival St. Lawrence by a score of 5-3. The Golden Knights returned the favor in their home opener the next day, defeating the Saints, 2-1. A sweep over Providence followed suit, before Clarkson dropped a pair of games to Boston University at home. After a 3-3-0 start to the season, a 9-0 win over Syracuse on Oct. 24 sparked a seven-game unbeaten streak for the Golden Knights. They earned another win over St. Lawrence during that stretch, as well as a tie against Harvard.

They dropped a 1-0 decision to Quinnipiac next but headed into the Nutmeg Classic coming off of a win over Princeton. Clarkson escaped the Nutmeg semifinal game with a 2-1 overtime victory over UConn, but again fell to Quinnipiac in the championship game. They had a hard time handling Cornell’s offense the next weekend and found themselves on the wrong end of an 8-3 rout before defeating Colgate to close out their December slate.

Clarkson opened January with another win over the Raiders, and fared much better the second time against the Big Red, skating to a 1-1 tie with them. After picking up wins against Union and RPI, the team closed out its non-conference schedule with a series against Wisconsin but could not muster a win against the Badgers, tying them, 1-1, before falling, 4-0, in game two. An upset loss to Yale put the Golden Knights on a three-game winless skid, but they ended the season in better form, going 7-1-0 in their last eight games of the regular season. That lone loss came against the Bobcats again, but the team did secure wins over Harvard, St. Lawrence, and Princeton over that stretch.

In the ECAC Tournament, Clarkson started things off with a sweep over Dartmouth in the quarterfinals, defeating the Big Green 6-0 and 4-1. In their semifinal game against Cornell, their tournament was ended as they fell to the Big Red, 3-1. In the NCAA quarterfinals, their quest for a repeat championship was halted by Boston College, who skated away with the 5-1 victory.

Even with the loss of several key players from the season before, the Golden Knights still had lots of standout individual performances in 2014-15. Freshman Shea Tiley was named both the ECAC Goaltender of the Year and Rookie of the Year after a fantastic first campaign. Junior defender Renata Fast and classmate and forward Cayley Mercer were both named to the All-ECAC First Team along with Tiley, and fellow juniors Shannon MacAulay and Erin Ambrose collected All-ECAC Third Team honors. Along with Tiley, defenseman Savannah Harmon was selected to the ECAC All-Rookie Team, while head coach Matt Desrosiers was honored as the league’s Coach of the Year.

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