The RIT women's hockey team (9-10-1) made history by playing its first outdoor game at cold, snowy Frontier Field on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they fell to No. 6 Clarkson (14-4-2), 6-2 in front of 1,578 fans as part of the 2013 Greater Rochester Frozen Frontier.
With snow falling throughout and the Frontier Field scoreboard reading 13 degrees for the opening faceoff, both teams braved the elements all game. There was a delay during each period for the zamboni to come out and resurface the ice.
The Golden Knights led 3-0 late in the second period before RIT scored twice to cut the lead to 3-2 in the third period. The Tigers had a power-play with a chance to tie the game, but the Golden Knights would score a shorthanded goal at the 7:35 mark, then up the lead to 5-2 with a tally 34 seconds later.
Clarkson scored two goals in a span of 34 seconds in both the second and third periods en route to the win.
Carly Mercer led the Golden Knights with two goals and an assist, while Vanessa Gagnon scored a pair of goals. Olivia Howe and Jamie Lynn Rattray also tallied in the win, while Cayley Mercer added a pair of assists. In goal, Erica Howe made 12 saves for her 14th victory of the year.
Kolbee McCrea scored both RIT goals, giving her a team-best 10 this season. Marissa Maugeri, Erin Zach, and Lauren Klein had assists. In net, Ali Binnington made 40 saves on 46 shots.
Clarkson out-shot RIT, 46-14, including 22 in the second period. Both teams were 0-for-2 with the man-advantage.
"(Playing outside) was an unforgettable experience for our team, despite the final score," said RIT Head Coach Scott McDonald. "I thought our team showed good fight, coming back to make it 3-2, but credit to Clarkson, they took advantage of a few lapses late."
Clarkson out-shot RIT, 12-2 in a scoreless first period. Despite the 12 shots allowed, RIT did a good job containing the Golden Knights to the outside.
The Golden Knights took control with two goals in 34 seconds and three in a 3:20 span midway through the second period to take a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Carly Mercer opened the scoring at the 9:25 mark of the period, as she took a feed from her sister, Cayley Mercer, in front, and roofed a shot over the glove of Binnington for her sixth goal of the season.
Just 34 seconds later, Rattray converted a feed from Brittany Stymer off a giveaway in the corner for her 15th goal of the season. The Golden Knights made it 3-0 at the 12:45 on Carly Mercer's second tally of the period.
McCrea got the Tigers on the board with 2:31 left in the period, taking a perfect feed from Maugeri in close and roofing a shot over Howe for her ninth tally of the year. Zach used a good fore check to cause a turnover deep in the Clarkson zone.
Just 1:21 into the third period, McCrea gave the Tiger faithful a reason to cheer, slamming in a rebound off a shot from Klein for her second goal of the game and 10th of the season to make it 3-2.
With a RIT power-play winding down, Gagnon picked off a pass from a Tiger defenseman and beat Binnington on a partial breakaway with 12:25 left to make it 4-2 Golden Knights.
Just 34 seconds later, Howe took a feed from Carly Mercer off a giveaway and beat Binnington to make it 5-2. Gagnon competed the scoring with 3:07 left.
This is the second meeting between the two schools this season, with Clarkson, ranked third nationally at the time, rolling to a decisive win on Sept. 28 in the season opener between the schools. Clarkson leads the all-time series between the two schools, 8-4-1. Before this season, the two teams had not met since Feb. 16, 1985.
Today's game was the sixth outdoor game in the history of NCAA Women's Hockey.
RIT is off until 2014,travelling to face Union College in a two-game road series on Jan. 3-4.