POTSDAM – A record crowd of 2,679 fans came to Cheel Arena on Saturday afternoon to see the Clarkson University women's hockey team raise its 2017 national championship banner.
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After the ceremony ended the Golden Knights showed the fans why they won a championship last year by routing rival St. Lawrence University 6-1 to sweep a two-game, nonconference series this weekend.
The day turned into one long party for the Golden Knights, who received their championship rings after the game and then headed upstairs in Cheel Arena for a large private celebration in Clarkson's Barben Room.
"I thought they did a great job," Clarkson coach Matt Desrosiers said of how his team handled the ceremonies and then played well afterward. "I told them to use that energy after the ceremony to get our feet under us and get going once the puck dropped. I think it exciting for the girls to have so many fans here today and I think they wanted to put on a good show. They wanted to make sure they topped it off with a good performance on the ice. Hopefully that brings a lot more of those fans back."
The Saints (2-2-2 overall), ranked No. 6 nationally, scored the first goal of the game when Hannah Miller found Kennedy Marchment next to the crease and sent a quick pass that Marchment converted four minutes in.
Clarkson (7-0-1), which is ranked No. 2 in the nation, answered quickly when Loren Gabel scored on a two-on-one breakaway at 5 minutes, 18 seconds to tie the game.
"It was an amazing experience," Gabel said of the day. "Bringing (the championship) home to Potsdam back in March was amazing, but getting our rings today and this whole ceremony, and having almost 2,700 fans, was unbelievable. We were all really happy. Obviously they got the first goal but we came back and we won the game."
Miller was called for two checking penalties in the first period and Clarkson took advantage the second time with a power-play goal from Ella Shelton at 17:24 to take the lead for good.
The Saints had a chance to tie the game early in the second period on a two-player advantage for 80 seconds, but SLU made just one shot on goal during the power play.
Miller was called for checking a third time at 10:36 of the period and Clarkson responded quickly again with Kelly Mariani scoring after a drop pass from Cassidy Vinkle at 11:32 to take a 3-1 lead.
The Saints gained another five-on-three situation at 16:40 of the second period, for a full two minutes, but again couldn't capitalize. Clarkson captain Savannah Harmon, a defenseman, blocked two shots and Tiley made two saves to thwart the Saints.
"I think it was a really good change in the game for our team," Harmon said. "We all really beared down and got the job done when it needed to be done. We had some huge blocks and it was good to see everyone get up on the bench after those."
Clarkson extended the lead to 4-1 at 3:23 of the third period with a goal from sophomore forward Michaela Pejzlova, who missed last year's national championship welcome home rally because she was competing in the Women's World Championships with the Czech Republic.
"We've been all waiting for this day ever since we won and it was really exciting," Pejzlova said. "We destroyed SLU today 6-1 and we all played really well. It was just unbelievable. It's something that happens a few times in your lifetime. I appreciate it so much that I get to be part of this team. It's unreal."
The Golden Knights picked up a full five-on-three power play at 6:23 of the third period and it took them just 35 seconds to score as freshman Elizabeth Giguere scored off passes from Pejzlova and Gabel.
Clarkson added one more power-play goal at 9:31 of the third period on another shot from Pejzlova, who redirected an outside shot by defenseman Ella Shelton.
"They were pretty aggressive on the five-on-three's and caused us to mumble some pucks around there," Saints coach Chris Wells said. "We didn't execute classicly on those. We had a couple good chances and Shea made some nice saves. I didn't have the team prepared whatsoever for this type of weekend and it showed. I certainly take full responsibility for the way it went for us."
This article is written by Cap Carey from Watertown Daily Times, N.Y. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.