POTSDAM — Sparked by graduate student Rhyen McGill, the Clarkson University women’s hockey team responded to a tie game Friday night by routing Lindenwood, 7-0, in a nonconference game Saturday at Cheel Arena.
Clarkson (5-1-2 overall) tied the Lions 1-1 on Friday, despite a 44-14 shots advantage.
McGill started things for Clarkson on Saturday with a goal at 8 minutes, 18 seconds of the first period. She was positioned by the boards and a shot from Taylor Sawka went off the pads of Lions goalie Annika Asplundh and right to McGill, who scored on the rebound. Avery Mitchell also assisted on the goal.
About six minutes later, McGill picked up her second goal of the game with Meaghan Hector and Taylor Turnquist assisting to extend Clarkson’s lead to 3-0.
McGill, who has often been a clutch performer in big games for the Golden Knights, missed her senior year last season due to an injury.
“It’s fun, I missed it,” McGill said. “I like being back on the ice and playing with all the girls. It’s great being back with the team, and I have to thank them for all they do because they made the transition back so easy for me.”
After waiting a whole season to play again, she picked up two assists in Clarkson’s 4-3 opening win at Syracuse on Sept. 27, but suffered another injury in that game and wound up missing Clarkson’s next three games before she returned last weekend with another two-goal game at Robert Morris.
“I think injuries happen throughout the (season),” McGill said. “I was happy to get back just after a couple weeks. Things went well for me.”
McGill entered this season with 41 goals and 41 assists in 121 games with Clarkson. Her biggest moments with the Golden Knights were scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Cornell in the 2017 ECAC Hockey title game and blocking a shot that set up Elizabeth Giguere’s overtime winning goal in the national championship game against Colgate in 2018, which the Golden Knights won 2-1.
“(McGill) has done a lot for our program over the years,” Clarkson coach Matt Desrosiers said. “She’s played a major part in a lot of the championships that we’ve won with some timely goals and blocked shots. Having someone that is capable and able to provide those big moments for you always gives you a boost. She’s able to play in a lot of different situations. That was one of the things we missed so much about her. She can play both on the power play, the (penalty kill), five-on-five, any kind of situation you needed. She’s even a shutdown defensive player because she is so good at blocking shots.”
Giguere scored Clarkson’s second goal Saturday with an impressive deke on Asplundh at 13:38 of the first period. Clarkson closed out a stellar first period with a 5-on-3 goal from freshman Gabrielle David to make it 4-0. Giguere picked up her 100th career assist on the goal.
“I think it says a lot about our team, it’s always tough to come out Friday and not play the way you want too,” said Turnquist, an assistant captain. “It really shows our character that we came out and today and were on fire. We sometimes see a pattern when we can’t score on Fridays. We had over 50 shots, we couldn’t score last night, but we always come back Saturday.”
Tia Stoddard scored at 18:27 of the second period to extend Clarkson’s lead to 5-0. Giguere added a shorthanded goal at 19:02 of the second period and Brooke McQuigge closed out the scoring with a power-play goal at 11:24.
Clarkson’s defense, led by captain Ella Shelton, held Lindenwood to one goal on the weekend and 28 shots. Sophomore Marie-Pier Coulombe made 14 saves for her second career shutout.
“We have a very strong defensive core,” Shelton said. “The six of us have gotten a lot of time with each other. There are a lot of times where you are not always (paired) with the same person, so you get to know each other pretty often. Our game is definitely based on good D-zone.”
Lindenwood’s roster included senior defenseman Lillian Marchant, the daughter of former Clarkson player Todd Marchant, and sophomore defenseman Maddison Stitt, who is the niece of former St. Lawrence University player Jamie Baker.