Potsdam, NY - Rarely do two teams ranked so high in the polls meet each other, and certainly not in October, but Friday night proved that the match up between the third-ranked University of New Hampshire and the number-four Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team could be a preview of a more important game down the road. More importantly, the Golden Knights justified their ranking with a 6-2 victory over the Wildcats in front of 493 fans Friday night at Cheel Arena.
The Golden Knights improved to 5-1-1 on the season, while the Wildcats were saddled with their first loss of the season, also moving to 5-1-1 overall. Clarkson will face top-10 ranked Boston University on Saturday afternoon, and New Hampshire will travel down the road to face St. Lawrence.
Though the shots ended at 9-8 after the end of the first period, Clarkson dominated the opening frame in terms of goals, producing three scores to take a significant lead into the locker room. Sophomore Juana Baribeau (Amos, QUE) scored her sixth goal of the season when she scored a power-play marker while lying on the ice. The sprawling shot came after the puck rattled around in front, and Baribeau was able to push the shot past New Hampshire goaltender Lindsey Minton, with assists going to Genevieve Lavoie (Delson, QUE) and Dominique Thibault (L’Original, ONT) at 5:09.
The Knights picked up two more goals late in the frame, one on the power play and another while down a player. Thibault tipped in a shot after a deflection at 15:32, just seven seconds into a power-play opportunity, with the helpers going to Melissa Waldie (Newmarket, ONT) and Baribeau. Just over two minutes later, Clarkson picked up a short-handed goal when a Wildcats player fell and lost control of the puck near the blue line while on the power play. Senior Britney Selina (Thornhill, ONT) picked up the errant puck and started a two-on-one the other way, but never gave up the puck and wristed a shot over the glove side of the goaltender at 17:58.
The second period saw the Wildcats finally capitalize on some of their chances, scoring twice on the power play in the first 11 minutes to cut Clarkson’s advantage to a single goal. New Hampshire got on the scoreboard just 2:29 into the second after the Wildcats tired out the Clarkson defense with a long shift as Kristine Horn and Courtney Birchard worked the puck around to Kelly Paton. Paton accepted a pass through the creased and deposited the puck into a wide open net for the Wildcats first goal. Eight-plus minutes later, the Wildcats drew to within one, scoring four seconds into a power play as Birchard scored a goal off a pass from Paton, who won the faceoff and delivered the easy pass at 10:57.
Clarkson would reclaim its two-goal advantage late in the period, thanks to a lucky bounce off the end boards. A missed shot clanked off the back boards and immediately found the stick of Selina, positioned at the bottom of the left circle. Selina essentially one-timed the bounce for the power-play goal at 16:32, with assists going to Carlee Eusepi (Oakville, ONT) and Thibault.
Baribeau put the game away for the Knights in the third period when she backhanded a shot top shelf while wide open in the center of the slot at 4:30. Kali Gillanders (Kyle, SASK) started the play, delivering the pass from behind the New Hampshire goal.
Finally, junior Courtney Olson (Brunswick, GA) capped the Clarkson scoring with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that rattled around the net thanks to a screen in front of the goal at 11:56. Freshman Danielle Skirrow (Trenton, ONT) earned the assist on the Knights’ sixth goal, which happened to be the first of Olson’s career.
Clarkson finished with a 29-23 edge in shots, and junior Lauren Dahm (Baldwinsville, NY) made 21 saves in the victory for the Knights. Lindsey Minton made seven saves for New Hampshire, and Kayley Herman stopped 16 in relief for the Wildcats. Both teams scored twice on the power play.