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Cornell at No. 2 Clarkson: ECAC Game of the Week

Golden Knights look to keep on rolling.

Clarkson University Athletic Department

Who: Cornell (12-5-2 Overall, 8-2-2 ECAC) at SB Nation No. 2 Clarkson (17-3-4 Overall, 11-0-1 ECAC)

When: Friday, January 20, 2017 (6:00 ET)

Where: Cheel Arena, Potsdam, NY

How to Watch: Clarkson Athletics TV

The Skinny

The Golden Knights climbed to No. 2 this week in the SB Nation poll after Minnesota-Duluth knocked off previous placeholder Minnesota. Clarkson has not lost since October 15 (to No. 1 Wisconsin) and look to be the team to beat in a stacked ECAC that has seen the rest of its top squads struggle to put together back-to-back wins.

Clarkson’s strength is their offense. They rank second in the country in team offense, averaging 3.88 goals per game. Forward Cayley Mercer is eighth in the country in points (33) and has scored 13 goals in 24 games. Senior forward Genevieve Bannon has 10 goals of her own to go with 18 assists.

Cornell has also looked sharp of late. Over a homestand that saw the Big Red play six games in twelve days, Cornell grabbed 9 points, including victories over Providence and Syracuse, a 1-1 tie with a rising Princeton and wins over No. 7 Quinnipiac and a collapsing Colgate. The Big Red are now fifth in the ECAC, five points back of Clarkson, and just two point back of Princeton for the Ivy title.

Cornell ranks fifth in the country in team defense, allowing 1.58 goals per game. While struggling to score at full strength, averaging just 2.47 goals per game, Cornell maximizes the power play, converting at nearly 19%, good enough for fourth in the country (just ahead of Clarkson, who sits fifth). The Big Red are decent on the kill (89.9%) as is Clarkson (87.1%).

Clarkson Players to Watch

#18 - Cayley Mercer, F

Clarkson’s senior captain and two-time First Team ECAC Hockey All-Star has continued her dominance this year. Fourth in the ECAC in goals (13) and points (32), she centers the Golden Knights high-powered offense.

#9 - Genevieve Bannon, F

Bannon has netted 28 points in 24 games. She, along with freshman forward Michaela Pejzlova and sophomore forward Rhyen McGill, are one of four Golden Knights in the top 10 in scoring in the ECAC. Bannon had a huge weekend, tallying a total of five points in wins against Yale and Brown.

Cornell Players to Watch

#31 - Paula Voorheis, G

The primary starter for the Big Red the past two years, Voorheis finds herself in a timeshare this year with sophomore Marlène Boissonnault. The senior has made the most of her time, however, and sits second in the country in GAA (1.36). 6-4-1 in 11 games, Voorheis leads the ECAC in GAA and Save Pct. (.954). Boissonnault has been sharp herself (1.73 GAA; .913 Sv % in eight games) and may get the start on Friday.

# Hanna Bunton, F

Bunton has leads the Big Red with 17 points. The senior was a 2016 Second-Team All-Ivy selection and is currently tied for second nationally with five power play goals.

The Pick

This is a strength-on-strength game, with Clarkson’s supercharged offense going up against Cornell’s strong defense. This is the first game in a critical road trip that sees the Big Red head to No. 5 St. Lawrence on Saturday, so Cornell may be amped up for the country’s No. 2 team. Clarkson hasn’t lost since before Halloween, though, and Mercer, Bannon and company may prove too much for a Cornell team that has lost to RPI and Providence this year. The Golden Knights extend the streak, 3-1.

Pick Record for the Season: 5-3-3