Saints Top Clarkson 6-3 in Season Opener
Oct. 1: The St. Lawrence University women's hockey team opened its 2011-12 season in style on Saturday night, toppling Clarkson behind three third period goals en route to a 6-3 victory at Appleton Arena. Six different players scored goals for the Scarlet and Brown, including senior Vanessa Emond and sophomore Mel Desrochers, who also each added a pair of assists.
St. Lawrence moves to 1-0-0 on the young season after picking up the non-conference win during the opening event of "Power of Pink" Week on campus to help raise funds and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Meanwhile, Clarkson remains winless at 0-1-1.
"We set the tone early and made some dynamic offensive plays," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells. "Clarkson is an extremely talented team, and I was happy with the way we responded after they tied the score heading into the third period."
The Saints needed only 2:18 to score the first goal of the season, as Emond took an outlet pass from first-year defenseman Jessa McAuliffe and moved in one-on-one against Clarkson goalie Erica Howe. The Levis, QC native lifted a shot over the goalie's shoulder for her first of the season and a 1-0 lead. Junior Jamie Goldsmith also had an assist with McAuliffe.
The Saints penalty killing unit, which had a busy night killing off 10 Golden Knight power plays, capitalized on a beautiful 2-on-1 try to take a 2-0 lead at 8:25. Desrochers sent the puck to captain Karell Emard, who skated in 2-on-1 with junior Kelly Sabatine. Emard sent a great crossing pass to her linemate, who slipped through the crease and sent the puck behind a sliding Howe for a short-handed goal and a 2-0 cushion.
Clarkson and St. Lawrence would exchange power play goals to open the second period, as Hailey Wood got the Knights on the scoreboard only 34 seconds into the stanza. Wood fired a long shot from the blue line that got past first-year goalie Carmen MacDonald to cut the visitor's deficit to 2-1. However, Desrochers answered with a pretty backhanded shot on a 5-on-3 that beat Howe under the crossbar to re-establish the two-goal lead at 3-1 with 12:00 minutes left in the period.
Clarkson would rally late in the second with back-to-back goals only 55 seconds apart to tie the score heading into a dramatic third period. Juana Baribeau made it 3-2 at 16:14 when she pushed the puck barely across the goal line on a rebound try in front. Jamie Lee Rattray then scored a power play goal at 17:09 to level the score at 3-3, deflecting a long shot from Baribeau through MacDonald's legs.
MacDonald would shut the door on Clarkson in the third period, stopping each of the 14 shots she faced in the period. Her play allowed the Saints to attack Howe, scoring three times and taking the 6-3 win.
First-year student Ellie Williams scored the eventual game-winning goal only 36 seconds into the third period. Junior Brooke Fernandez found Emard in the slot, and the captain sent a fantastic between-the-legs pass to Williams on the far post, who snapped a shot into the goal for a 4-3 lead and her first collegiate tally.
Sophomore Rylee Smith became the fifth St. Lawrence player to score a goal in the game at 4:33 of the third, as she completed a pretty give-and-go play with Sabatine in the offensive zone. The Hagersville, ON native took a feed from Sabatine and fired a wrist shot under the cross bar for a 5-3 lead.
First-year student Jessica Hon would put the game away for the Saints with a power play goal with 7:53 remaining. After Howe made two great saves on the doorstep, the puck came to the point to Desrochers. She blasted a slap shot towards goal, which Hon deflected past the goalie for the 6-3 lead.
MacDonald, who played a flawless third period, earned her first career win with 29 saves. Meanwhile, Howe suffered the loss despite making 30 stops including 14 in the third period. Each team finished 2-for-10 on the power play, and the Saints closed with a 36-32 advantage in shots on goal.
St. Lawrence will be in action again next Saturday, October 8 when they welcome UConn to Appleton Arena at 1:00pm.