ITHACA, NY -- For the third consecutive season Clarkson University enters the NCAA Tournament as ECAC Hockey Tournament Champions after defeating Cornell 4-1 in the league's title game on Sunday afternoon at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, NY.
Big time players come through at key moments and nobody has been better in the clutch this season than Clarkson's all-star forward Loren Gabel (Kitchener, ONT). The Top-3 Patty Kazmaier Finalist and ECAC Hockey Player of the Year scored twice in a 26-second span early in the second period to increase her nation-leading goal total to 40.
Gabel was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
All-Star graduate student transfer Kassidy Sauve continued her postseason brilliance in the Golden Knight's crease posting 35 saves as the Big Red held a 36-25 shot advantage.
Clarkson, which is one win shy of its fourth consecutive 30-win season with a 29-7-2 record, will find out tonight who it will face in the NCAA Tournament when seedings are announced on the Selection Show at 9:00 p.m. on NCAA.com.
Cornell, with a pair of power plays in the opening 20 minutes, controlled the better part of a scoreless first period, outshooting the Knights 9-6.
Gabel opened the scoring at 3:53 of the middle frame, finishing off a pass from the nation's leading player maker, sophomore right wing Elizabeth Giguere (Quebec City, QUE) on a 2-on-1 rush. For Giguere, that was her 46th assist of the season. Junior defenseman Ella Shelton (Ingersoll, ONT) started the play with a pass to Giguere in the Clarkson end.
Gabel wasted little time in building the Golden Knights' lead to 2-0. Gabel broke out of the Clarkson end and skated in on a 2-on-1 rush with Shelton. Gabel elected to keep the puck and fired in a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle over a sliding Big Red defender at 4:19 for her 40th goal of the season, fifth tally of the postseason and nation-leading 11th gamewinner.
Maddie Mills put Cornell on the scoreboard early in the third period, knocking in a loose puck at the side of the net 1:22 in to end Sauve's postseason shutout streak at 135:28.
At 10:01, Clarkson regained its two-goal advantage when Shelton connected off a pass from senior Kelly Mariani (Mississauga, ONT) on a 2-on-1 rush for her sixth goal of the year.
Cornell pulled goaltender Lindsay Browning with 2:05 remaining, but the Knights sealed the victory with senior captain Cassidy Vinkle's (Belleville, ONT) empty-net score with 10.1 seconds left.
2019 ECAC Hockey All-Tournament
Forward: Loren Gabel - Clarkson
Forward: Elizabeth Giguere - Clarkson
Forward: Maddie Mills - Cornell
Defense: Ella Shelton - Clarkson
Defense: Micah Zandee-Hart - Cornell
MOP: Loren Gabel - Clarkson