Clarkson

Clarkson & Cornell Faceoff in NCAA Quarterfinals at Cheel

Coming off the first ECAC Championship in school history, the third-ranked Clarkson University Women's Hockey team will host seventh-ranked Cornell in the NCAA Quarterfinals with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line.
 
Led by ninth-year head coach Matt Desrosiers and assistant coaches Britni Smith and Tony Maci, the Golden Knights have a 29-4-5 record this year and were the ECAC Hockey regular season champions. The Green and Gold were the second consecutive team to win both the ECAC Hockey regular season championship and tournament championship.

 


Clarkson hosted Princeton in the first semifinal and the Golden Knights came away with a 4-0 win. Loren Gabel tied a Clarkson postseason record with four points on two goals and two assists. Ella Shelton also had a goal while ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and top 3 Patty Kazmaier Finalist Cayley Mercer had a goal and an assist. Cornell defeated St. Lawrence 3-1, setting up the third ever title match between the Golden Knights and Big Red. After two prior losses, Clarkson finally defeated Cornell in the ECAC Hockey Championship, thanks to a Rhyen McGill goal in a 1-0 win.
 
The Most Outstanding Player of the ECAC Championship was Clarkson goaltender Shea Tiley. Tiley became the first goaltender to ever shutout opponents in both the ECAC Semifinals and Championship. Tiley had 43 saves across the two games, including 17 in the final against Cornell. Tiley now has 76 wins and 23 shutouts in her career, both of which are second all-time at Clarkson. Tiley is now ninth in the country in goals against average (1.60) and tenth in save percentage (.928). Tiley was also a finalist for ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year.
 
Tiley was joined by Mercer, Gabel, McGill, and Shelton on the ECAC Hockey All-Tournament Team. Mercer's goal against Princeton gave her 78 for her career, making her the all-time leading goal-scorer in Clarkson history. Mercer is tied for second in the country in points with 57 and leads the nation in goals with 26. Gabel's four points against the Tigers tied Erin Ambrose's four points in the 2016 ECAC Quarterfinals for the most by a Golden Knight in a postseason game. Both Gabel and McGill have set new career highs in points this season, as Gabel has 37 (18-19) and McGill has 29 (8-21). Mercer and McGill are the only two active Clarkson players with an NCAA Tournament goal on their resumes as both scored in the 3-2 overtime Frozen Four loss to Boston College last season.
 
Joining Mercer as a finalist for ECAC Hockey Player of the Year was her co-captain Savannah Harmon. While Harmon did not win Player of the Year, she was named the ECAC Hockey Best Defensemen. Harmon is second in the country in points among blue-liners with 32 and is just the second Clarkson defensemen with more than 30 points in a single season. Michaela Pejzlova and Shelton were both finalists for ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year. Pejzlova was tied for second nationally in points among rookies with 32, becoming the first Clarkson rookie with 30 points since Ambrose did so in 2012-13. Shelton was second in the country in points among freshmen blue-liners with 21 and both Harmon and Shelton were tied for third in the country overall in power-play assists as each had 11.
 
Both Harmon and Mercer were named ECAC Hockey First Team All-Stars. On the third team was Tiley and Shelton. In between them on the second team was assistant captain Genevieve Bannon. Bannon was second on the team with 46 points on 14 goals and a team-high 32 assists. 
 
Cornell has a 20-8-5 record on the season. The Big Red finished in third place in the ECAC Hockey standings and then swept Colgate in the quarterfinals series. Cornell defeated St. Lawrence in the ECAC Semifinals 3-1, thanks to goals from Kristin O'Neill, Amy Curlew, and Paige Lewis. However, the Big Red could not score against Clarkson in the ECAC Championship and fell 1-0. Although Marlene Boissonault has a better goals against average and winning percentage than Paula Voorheis, Voorheis has started all four postseason games in net for Cornell. Hanna Bunton and Kristin O'Neill lead the Big Red with 28 and 26 points respectively.
 
It will be the second year in a row that Clarkson will have an NCAA Quarterfinal matchup with the team the Golden Knights also faced in the ECAC Championship. Last season, Clarkson fell to Quinnipiac 1-0 in the ECAC Championship, but bounced back and beat the Bobcats by the same scoreline in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Clarkson is 17-13-4 all-time against Cornell and is 2-1 this season. Cornell won the first match-up this year 2-1 in Cheel Arena before Clarkson won 5-4 in overtime on the road. Clarkson will try to limit the Big Red's power-play goals as Cornell has scored four extra-man goals in three meetings this season. However, Cornell will try to stop the Golden Knights from breaking the game open offensively as Clarkson scores 3.58 goals per game while the Big Red allow just 1.64 goals per game.
 
The two teams will meet at 3:00 pm on Saturday afternoon in Cheel Arena with the winner heading to St. Louis for the Frozen Four.