Did You Know: The Clarkson Hockey program has amassed 10,001 goals since the 1920-21 season?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Clarkson v. #4 SLU - The Women Need YOU!

While those over at Western College Hockey are haggling about UAA/UAF being the best rivalry in college hockey, us fans from the North Country know where the real deal is at. Last year a combined 4,000 fans came out to Appleton and Cheel to watch a third year program battle the #1 ranked team in the country, and actually take a split in two exciting, competitive games.... By the way rivalry scoreboard watchers, this was the home and home series for the Golden Knight and Saints' Women's squads. These are two hockey fans bases that will get up for any game, and they've been rewarded with elite squads who will go at it again this weekend in Canton and Potsdam.

Clarkson is no longer the new kid on the block. Sure, last year Coach Seeley had expectations, and the team had expectations, but lets face it, the majority of the fans coming out to see the Green and Gold didn't know what to expect. Things have changed. Everyone has expectations now, and these are two huge games which could potentially decide the ECAC, and they're the opening games of this year's conference slate.

Both teams opened up their season playing essentially "tune-up" matches. Clarkson smoking Vermont, and St. Lawrence sweeping Wayne State. The following week, both headed into murkier waters with The Knights heading off to face #3 ranked Mercyhurst and snagging a point in the process. St. Lawrence played two very closely played contests against Providence and UConn, and came away victorious in both.

Now here we are.

After maklng it to the Frozen Four last year, St. Lawrence comes in with a spotless 4-0-0 record. So far their best competition has been Providence who they narrowly defeated last weekend 2-1. That game was all about special teams, as SLU converted both their goals on the PP and killed off nine penalties in the win. As you might expect, the usual suspects, forwards Sabrina Harbec and Carson Duggan (who is scary enough as a Sophomore, and should be downright nasty as a Senior) are already on the top of the scoring sheet. Senior Co-Captain Chelsea Grills is back from a medical red-shirt last year and already has two goals and two assists. Defenseman Annie Guay won USCHO Defensive Player of the Week honors after her goal and two assists last weekend. After the departure of Jessica Moffat, we'll see less of a platoon this year for Meghan Guckian who stopped 55 of 56 shots over the weekend on her way to ECACHL Goaltender of the Week Honors.

Clarkson came into Mercyhurst hoping to knock off the #3 team in the country, and came up just a bit short, but left with some momentum coming back in the 3rd period to take a tie from the Lakers. The Lakers put 83 shots on net, and scored all three of their goals on Saturday on the PP. Kira Hurley stood tall in net, particularly on Saturday when she did not allow an even strength goal and stopped 39 of 42 shots. She'll look for help from the team in terms of not taking penalties, and preventing significantly less shot opportunities. Katie Morrison has proven to be a genuine threat from the blue-line scoring three goals and an assist against Mercyhurst. Jessica Cloutier and ECACHL Rookie of the Week, Britney Selina both had three helpers a piece over the weekend as well. Marie-Jo Gaudet did not play last weekend, which no doubt put the Knights at a disadvantage, hopefully we'll see her on the ice this weekend.

This almost sounds like the same thing I wrote for the Mercyhurst game. Clarkson NEEDS to stay out of the box. I'm not sure if it's the new fast-paced offense that forces them to take penalties on the way back, or if the refs are just calling a different game, but giving a team like St. Lawrence ten power-play chances will come back to haunt you unless Hurley is standing on her head. She'll provide you with the chance to win any game, but those chances diminish when twenty minutes of the game are 5 on 4. For the first time, probably ever, the offense is not a concern to me. The Knights are making it happen on the opposing end of the ice. Now they've just got to stop the other team. St. Lawrence will need to stick to their plan, put a lot of shots on net, and be sure not hang Guckian out to dry. Clarkson's offense converts now. Sure, they only put 19 shots on goal on Saturday, but three of them went in the net, and that's what counts.

The crowds will certainly play a factor here. Both goalies are stellar, but we saw Clarkson get to Meghan Guckian at Cheel last year in a 2-0 victory, and having 2,000 people behind you yelling makes that happen. The Knights NEED you to come out to Appleton and Cheel this weekend to support the team. Clarkson fans you've got no excuse on Saturday not to spend an entire day at the rink. The puck frops at 3:00 for the Women's Game. That means a couple of hours in between to hit up Club 99, or the Barben Rooms, maybe even a jaunt over to Eben's, then show back up for the Men's game against LSSU. A perfect hockey weekend.

CHF Predictions:

Clarkson 1 at St. Lawrence 3
St. Lawrence 2 at Clarkson 3


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