Mercer’s last-minute goal gives Clarkson tie against Quinnipiac

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HAMDEN, Conn. — Cayley Mercer played hero for Clarkson, putting the tying goal past Quinnipiac’s Sydney Rossman with 56 seconds left in the game.

The goal was upheld through a review and overtime to make it a 2-2 final.

With goaltender Shea Tiley pulled for the extra attacker, Mercer got a clean shot through traffic from the far side faceoff circle. She whipped a clean shot over Rossman’s shoulder and through two Bobcats defenders before it tucked it right under the cross bar.

Clarkson coach Matt Desrosiers knew there was a tremendous amount to overcome going into the third period with the score only 1-0 in favor of Quinnipiac. Going into tonight, the Bobcats were 20-0-2 after scoring first.

“They’re a tough team [and] I don’t think there’s been many teams that have been able to come back on them when they get out in front,” Desrosiers said. “It was great to see the girls battle back there and especially having to pull the goalie in the end and getting that equalizer, and then taking things into overtime there.”

Clarkson started the third period with a lot of jump to their game, working to tie it four minutes into the period.

With a strong rush into the zone, Genevieve Bannon worked to get a clean pass to Loren Gabel, who whipped the puck through Rossman as she pulled away from her defender down low.

Two minutes later, Melissa Samoskevich put in her 16th goal of the year on the power play three and a half minutes after Clarkson’s tally to give Quinnipiac the lead once again.

For Quinnipiac coach Cassie Turner, the consistency in the details of execution outweighed the final score.

“I’m really proud of the team effort our team put in today,” said Turner. “They were willing to make plays, to block shots, to pick up sticks. It was a tough battle and exactly the type of hockey game we want to be in at this point in the year against a good hockey team leading into the postseason.”

Quinnipiac and Clarkson remain the top two teams in the ECAC and are separated by only three points. The two hold near-identical records, with the Bobcats sitting at 24-2-5, with a 14-2-4 mark in the ECAC, and the Golden Knights are 24-3-5 overall, 12-3-5 in conference.

For Desrosiers, knowing the Bobcats are in their playoff sights, as they have been in the past two seasons, was something his team had in mind in working to make a productive effort in this game.

“We kinda talked about it, [that] there’s a pretty good chance we might see these guys down the road, too,” Desrosiers said. “Obviously, we had to have a strong effort to leave an impression on them, just in case we see them again. I think that was in the back of our girls’ minds for sure.”

Turner also knows the expectations run high when the Golden Knights and Bobcats share the ice.

“We love playing Clarkson around here — we love it,” Turner said. “It brings out the best in us. I think it brings out the best in them. I do hope we have the chance to play them again.”

The Bobcats now sit a point short of clinching the ECAC regular-season title. With a win next Friday, Quinnipiac can clinch home ice for the duration of the conference playoffs.

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