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

Friday, November 03, 2006

Women's Preview - Clarkson vs. Dartmouth / Harvard

Coming off of a UGE weekend on the road where the Knights righted the ship and took three points from Quinnipiac and Princeton, Clarkson heads home to face Harvard and Dartmouth in one of the biggest series of the year (sound familiar?) Why is this so big? These are two top-tier teams that Clarkson believes they can beat, and taking at least a split here will go a long way towards home ice in the playoffs, but these teams are slightly different bringing back several top-caliber players who were with their National Teams last teams in Turin.

This weekend the hated Crimson of Harvard skates into Cheel for their first real test of the season. Harvard opened the season up with an exhibition win over a strong McGill squad where they squeaked out a 2-0 victory. I suspect coach Katey Stone was not impressed, and Harvard came out last weekend scoring a combined 21 goals over RPI and Union to officially open up their season. Harvard returns three Olympians from the squad, Julie Chu and Caitlin cahow who were on the US National Team, and Sarah Vaillancourt who was on Team Canada. These three players have 29 points combined after two games. Granted they're against RPI and Union, but they figure to make a big impact on this Harvard team. In addition Jenny Brine and Jennifer Sifers also return, and may be even more dangerous than last year with defenses too busy focusing on the Olympic Trio. The biggest question mark with be the goaltending situation. Sophomore Brittany Martin appears to have the starting job, but has only faced 25 shots on the season against weaker offenses.

Clarkson playing Dartmouth might feel like two teams playing against mirror images of each other. Dartmouth opened up the season with a pair of losses to Mercyhurst but has been able to play solidly against teams they're expected to beat, putting up 16 goals against the Union/RPI duo themselves. Freshman Sarah Parsons already has an impressive 10 points to lead the Big Green, she'd be a rookie surprise, except that she too was an Olympian at Turin, along with teammates Gillians Apps and Cherie Piper this trio has a combined 28 points in their first four games. Carli Clemis has had three of the four starts for the Big Green and has a 2.37 GAA and a .892 save pct. She took both losses at Mercyhurst.

Last weekend, Clarkson's offense exploded at Quinnipiac behind christine Balikowski's natural hat trick as they defeated the Bobcats 6-3. At Princeton in the USCHO Game of the Week, the Knights skated to a 1-1 tie against a Tiger team that has had Clarkson's number in the past. Clarkson actually held the lead in this game after scoring a goal on a delayed penalty late in the first, but a penalty, one of only four power-plays given up by the Knights in the game, ended up being their undoing as Princeton scored a power play marker with under three minutes to go to secure the tie. Britney Selina got on the scoresheet again, and Courtney O'Connor got her first point as a Golden Knight giving all Clarkson skaters a point this season. Kira Hurley had a strong weekend in goal. She gave up a single goal against Quinnipiac before being relieved in the 3rd period by Jessica Finley. On Saturday she saved 23, and only gave up a power play goal to help the Knights to a tie.

It will be interesting to see how Coach Seeley decides to have his team play. Adapting to a faster, more aggressive style, has been difficult for the Knights offense against top teams, and has resulted in breaks the other way. Against weaker teams it has resulted in bunches of goals. Does Coach stick with this style, or does he go back to the defensive shell that won victories last season over these teams? Regardless, good defense, great goaltending and smart play are all going to need to be in the cards for Clarkson to take points this weekend.

CHF Picks:

  • Clarkson 1, Harvard 4
  • Clarkson 2, Dartmouth 1


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