Clarkson Defeats Cornell, Heads to Frozen Four

With a hat trick from sophomore Loren Gabel (Kitchener, ONT), the second-ranked Clarkson University Women's Hockey team defeated seventh-ranked Cornell 3-1 on Saturday afternoon in Cheel Arena in the NCAA Quarterfinals.
 
Clarkson is now 30-4-5 on the season and advances to the Frozen Four for the second straight year and for the third time in the past four seasons. Cornell closes out its season with a 20-9-5 mark.
 
With the two teams having met three times already this season and all matchups decided by a single goal, scoring was at a premium on Saturday. Cornell had the first great chance to score during a power-play just four minutes into the game. The chance came during a scramble in front of the Clarkson goal, but the first Big Red shot was stopped by Clarkson junior goaltender Shea Tiley (Owen Sound, ONT) and then the follow up effort bounced off the crossbar.
 
After that initial Cornell attack, Clarkson went on the offensive in the rest of the first period. The Golden Knights finished the first frame with a 15-5 advantage in shots and most importantly a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard. The goal came at 12:25 during a Clarkson power-play. The Green and Gold worked the puck on the left side of the rink and Gabel found herself some space just inside the left circle. She took a quick wrist shot that stayed low to the ice and beat Cornell goaltender Paula Voorheis. Freshman defenseman Ella Shelton (Ingersol, ONT) and blueline partner, junior co-captain Savannah Harmon (Downers Grove, IL) had assists on the goal.
 
In the second period, Clarkson continued to be the aggressor, holding a 13-7 edge in shots, but Voorheis kept Clarkson from adding to its lead. When Cornell did get a chance to attack the Clarkson goal, Tiley matched Voorheis save for save to keep the score at 1-0 heading into the third.
 
In the third period, Cornell began to ratchet up the pressure on Clarkson with the Big Red firing 11 shots in the period to Clarkson's nine. Neither team could grab a goal though, until the final two minutes.
 
Gabel gave Clarkson a two-goal cushion at 18:21 thanks to a nice interplay between her, senior assistant captain Genevieve Bannon (Candiac, QUE), and co-captain and top three Patty Kazmaier finalist, senior Cayley Mercer (Exeter, ONT). Bannon started the play by breaking out down the left side. Bannon dropped a pass back to Mercer, who found herself in a 2-on-1 with Gabel. Instead of immediately passing to Gabel, Mercer circled to the left around the Cornell defender and then squared a pass to Gabel who had an easy tap-in.
 
However, the cushion was not around long as Cornell got its first goal of the game just 12 seconds after Gabel scored. After pulling Voorheis for an extra attacker, Jaime Bourbonnais took a slap-shot from the blue-line. Lenka Serdar was in front of the Clarkson goal and was able to redirect Bourbonnais' shot into the Clarkson goal.
 
Serdar's goal set up a frantic final 90 seconds as Cornell continued to leave its net empty to add an attacker. It was not until Gabel scored an empty net goal with just 28 seconds remaining on the clock that Clarkson could exhale and then close out the Big Red. Bannon and Shelton had the assists on Gabel's third and final goal.
 
Clarkson finished with a 37-23 advantage in shots. Clarkson was 1-6 on the power-play and killed the sole extra-man opportunity that Cornell had. Tiley made 21 saves in the victory while Voorheis had 34 in her final collegiate game. Before giving up the sole Cornell goal, Tiley had gone 202:59 without allowing a goal, the second longest streak of her career.
 
Clarkson will advance to the Frozen Four in St. Charles, Missouri on March 17th. The Golden Knights will play Minnesota in the NCAA Semifinals, while Wisconsin and Boston College will meet in the other game.