For the second time in the program’s seven-year history the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team will advance to the semifinal round of the ECAC Hockey Tournament after defeating St. Lawrence in a hard-fought quarterfinal round series at Cheel Arena.
The Golden Knights earned the right to advance after knocking off the Saints 4-1 in the series’ deciding third on Sunday before a crowd of 552 in Potsdam. Clarkson opened the quarterfinal series on Friday with a 5-0 blanking of St. Lawrence, but the Saints came back on Saturday with a 2-1 win to force Sunday’s contest.
Ranked sixth in the country, Clarkson will now host perennial national powerhouse Harvard in a semifinal game at Cheel next Friday, March 5 at 4:00 or 7:00 p.m. The Knights, who finished second in the ECAC Hockey standings with a 14-5-3 league mark, own a 22-10-5 record.
ECAC All-Stars, junior goaltender Lauren Dahm (Baldwinsville, NY) and senior defenseman Carlee Eusepi (Oakville, ONT) played a leading role in Sunday’s victory. Dahm posted 21 saves to record her 44th career win and Eusepi led a solid defensive effort along with recording a goal and an assist. Sophomore standout Juana Baribeau (Amos, QUE) led all scorers with one goal and two assists.
Clarkson controlled throughout taking a 3-0 lead early in the third period. St. Lawrence got on the scoreboard late in the game with an extra attacker score, but Baribeau sealed the Knights’ 15th win of the season at home with an empty-net goal with 1:57 remaining.
Clarkson was especially strong in special teams play, going 2-of-4 on the power play while killing off all seven of St. Lawrence’s man-advantage opportunities.
Sophomore Gabrielle Kosziwka (Limehouse, ONT) started the scoring late in the first period when she picked up a rebound off of freshman Danielle Skirrow’s (Trenton, ONT) shot and put in her sixth goal of the season. Freshman defenseman Hailey Wood (Lethbridge, ALB) started the play with a pass from the point.
The Knights made it 2-0 early in the middle frame with a power-play tally. Just 18 seconds into the man-advantage, junior Melissa Waldie (Newmarket, ONT) redirected a hard shot from the blueline by Eusepi for her 16th goal of the season, and team-high 10th power-play marker at 4:47. Baribeau also assisted.
Quick work again with the man-advantage led to Clarkson’s third goal. Just 15 seconds into the Knights’ fourth power play of the game, Eusepi connected on a slap shot from the point at 3:01 for her sixth goal of the season. Baribeau and senior Dominique Thibault (L’Orginal, ONT) set up the goal.
With 2:39 remaining in regulation, St. Lawrence pulled goaltender Maxie Weisz for the extra attacker, and the moved paid off as Kirsten Roach scored for the Saints’ lone goal. Time ran out for St. Lawrence (16-14-7, 11-9-3), which had advanced to the previous six semifinal rounds of the ECAC Hockey Tournament.
Clarkson out shot St. Lawrence 24-22.