Carly Mercer notched her first hat trick.
Clarkson Athletics

POTSDAM, N.Y. -- An impressive effort on the penalty kill and a hat trick from junior Carly Mercer highlighted No. 7 Clarkson's performance against second-ranked Harvard, as the Golden Knights sent the Crimson to its first conference loss of the season with a 3-1 defeat on Friday night at Cheel Arena.

The Golden Knights improved to 19-6-0 overall and 11-2-0 in ECAC Hockey, while second-rated Harvard fell to 16-2-1 overall and 13-1-0 in league games.

Clarkson was first on the scoreboard with a power-play goal. The Crimson was whistled for too many players on the ice and 32 seconds later the Knights cashed in. Junior Jamie Lee Rattray took a shot in the slot, which was denied by Harvard goalkeeper Emerance Maschmeyer. Fortunately for the Knights, the puck found its way over to the stick of Carly Mercer, who finished off the play by stuffing in the rebound on Maschmeyer’s glove side. The goal, Mercer’s 10th on the season, was the earliest scored by a Harvard opponent all season long (19 games). Senior Danielle Skirrow also assisted.

Harvard tied the game up nine minutes later with a power-play marker of its own. Kelsey Romatoski sent a pass from the top of the right circle down near the end line to Kaitlin Spurling. She took her time to wait for a skater on the opposite of the ice to fill the opening and Kailey Armstrong glided in for an easy one-timer past the stick of Clarkson goaltender Erica Howe.

The second period was scoreless, though Harvard did have opportunities. The Crimson began the period on the power play for 37 seconds, and the Golden Knights were whistled for three more penalties in the period. Harvard enjoyed 5 minutes, 16 seconds of action with an extra skater due to Clarkson penalties, but the Knights’ penalty killing unit was up to the task, allowing only one shot on goal.

After killing off the final 1:21 of a penalty, Clarkson quickly returned to the offensive in the third period. With Maschmeyer down on the ice after making a stop, no one was around Mercer, who lifted the puck over the Harvard goaltender’s stick, again at the glove side post, for her second goal at the 2:35 mark. She completed her first career hat trick seven minutes later on the power play. Freshman Erin Ambrose blasted a shot from the point and the puck, for a third time, found the stick of Mercer at the post, where she took two swipes at it before it crossed the goal line.

Rattray picked up her third assist of the night on the goal and recorded her 99th career point (42-57).

Howe was strong in the Clarkson net, aided by a considerable effort from the Clarkson defense, making 18 saves as Harvard had a season-low 19 shots. Maschmeyer made 22 stops for the Crimson. Clarkson was 2-for-7 on the power play while Harvard scored once in six chances.

Howe’s effort provided her with her 18th victory of the season and the 50th of her career, a new Clarkson standard, surpassing the 49 victories recorded by Lauren Dahm.