Clarkson Women's Hockey Ready To Extend Legacy
POTSDAM - Entering its 17th season as a NCAA Division I program, Clarkson University has firmly established itself as one of the premiere teams in the country having won three of the past six national titles. With four consecutive Frozen Four appearances under their belts, the Golden Knights are once again expecting to be playing hockey late into March 2020.
With 14 letterwinners returning from last year's squad, which posted a 30-8-2 overall record, and the addition of three talented transfers and six promising freshmen, Clarkson appears solid and deep at all positions. The Knights are the nation's third-ranked team in the 2019 Preseason USCHO.com poll.
"We think we have some pretty good pieces in place with our returning players," stated 12th-year Head Coach Matt Desrosiers. "And we are excited about what the incoming players can bring. We are very excited for the 2019-20 season as our schedule will be another great showcase of hockey at Cheel Arena. This upcoming season we will be looking to build off a magical run of Championship seasons that has seen Clarkson Women's Hockey bring home ECAC League and Tournament titles, as well as National Championship trophies."
The Golden Knights play a 34-game schedule, including the always-competitive 22-game ECAC Hockey circuit. Clarkson will play 16 games in newly renovated Cheel Arena where they boast a .747 winning percentage on a 222-65-31 record since 2003-04. The Green and Gold have been nearly unbeatable on their home ice over the past four seasons in Potsdam with a phenomenal .865 winning percentage with a 74-9-6 record.
The class of ECAC Hockey the past six years with four regular-season titles and two second-place showings since 2013-14, Clarkson, which has also won the past three conference championship tournaments, earned the top spot in the 2019 league's preseason coaches' poll. The Green and Gold have won 100 ECAC Hockey games the past six seasons and skated to a 16-5-1 league mark for a share of second place last year.
Clarkson opens the season with a home-and-home series against Syracuse University, playing the Orange in Central NY on September 27 and then returning to Potsdam for the home opener at Cheel this coming Saturday afternoon. The Golden Knights' ECAC Hockey campaign begins on November 1 when the Green and Gold play at Union.
Matt Desrosiers' ECAC Hockey preseason press conference (audio)
Although the Knights graduated their all-time leading scorer and 2019 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Loren Gabel, Clarkson has the firepower to be among the most potent offenses in the nation once again after averaging 3.58 goals per game in 2018-19.
Headlining the Knights upfront is the country's leading point producer from last year, junior right wing Elizabeth Giguere. Named USCHO.com Player of the Year and a Top 10 Finalist for the Kazmaier Award, Giguere totaled 73 points and was Division I's leading playmaker with 47 assists. Through just 81 career games, the two-time All-America has amassed 144 career points (53-91) and is on pace to surpass Gabel's record of 213 points before her tenure in Potsdam is complete.
Centering the top line in the nation the past two seasons, senior Michaela Pejzlova has been a catalyst for the Green and Gold's offensive proficiency with 142 career points (56-86) in 118 games. The Third-Team ECAC All-Star was fifth in the nation in points last year, recording 19 goals and 36 assists.
After sitting out last year recovering from an injury, Rhyen McGill will provide a big boost to the lineup in her senior campaign. Closing in on the century mark, McGill plays a well-rounded game with 42 goals and 42 assists along with a solid +56 plus/minus rating through her career.
Senior transfers Caitrin Lonergan and Kayla Friesen add to influx of talent up front.
Lonergan was an all-star at Boston College for three seasons (2016-19), earning numerous Hockey East honors along with being named a Second-Team All-American and a Patty Kazmaier Award Top-10 Finalist in 2018. She racked up 147 points on 59 goals and 88 assists in 112 career games with the Eagles.
Friesen was a standout and team leader at St. Cloud where she accumulated 50 points on 16 goals and 34 assists in 103 games for the Huskies.
With the graduation loss of four veteran forwards, senior Katherine Beaumier, juniors Tia Stoddard and Kristy Pidgeon, and sophomores Morgan Helgeson, Taylor Sawka and Miranda Gaudet will look to make a bigger impact with more playing time.
Freshmen Gabrielle David and Brooke McQuigge add to the depth upfront and have the potential to make a significant contribution.
A top five defensive team last year, the Knights have a veteran core returning and a good mix of newcomers to project a solid blueline brigade.
The cornerstone of the Green and Gold defense, senior captain Ella Shelton is one of the nation's better two-way defenders, providing standout play at both ends of the ice. The Second-Team ECAC All-Star paced Clarkson's offensive effort from the blueline with 25 points (6-19) in 2018-19 and is closing in on becoming only the third Clarkson defender all-time to reach the century mark with 75 career points (17-58) through her first three seasons.
Senior Taylor Turnquist has been a solid performer throughout her collegiate career and provides a veteran presence as a Clarkson assistant captain.
Junior Meaghan Hector, sidelined by injuries for most of last season, looks to be back at full strength and will provide an offensive presence on the back end along with serving as a team leader in an assistant captains role. Classmate Avery Mitchell's tenacious play in her own zone boosted Clarkson's defensive effort and should be even better with two years of experience on her resume.
Three freshmen, Lauren Bernard, Stephanie Markowski and Emily Wisnewski are coming off solid junior careers and should see significant time this winter.
After receiving a strong performance from Ohio State graduate transfer Kassidy Sauve last year, the Knights will look towards another Buckeye transfer this season to help bolster Clarkson's effort between the pipes.
Junior Amanda Zeglen, who posted a 9-3 record on a .902 save percentage and a 2.20 goals against average over a two-year span in Columbus, will be competing for playing time in the Clarkson crease with sophomore Marie-Pier Coulombe and freshman Marie Dedert. Coulombe appeared in three games for the Knights' last season, posting a .917 save percentage and a 1.73 GAA en route to a 2-1 mark, including one shutout. Dedert backstop the Selects Academy to the U19 New York State 2019 Championship.