High-scoring Rattray is engine that powers Clarkson
by Roman J. Uschak/Correspondent
PRINCETON, N.J. — Jamie Lee Rattray wouldn’t rather be anywhere than Clarkson University, which is good for both sides, as Clarkson probably wouldn’t be where it is without the junior forward from Kanata, Ont.
Rattray, who tallied 19 goals and 33 assists for 52 points through her first two seasons in Potsdam, N.Y., will easily set individual season bests in all three categories this year. Through 14 games, she had posted 13-11-24 scoring totals as the Golden Knights raced out to a 12-2-0 overall mark (6-0-0 ECAC Hockey) and were ranked No. 3 in the country.
“It’s been good, and we’ll try to keep it going,” said Rattray.
Included in the team’s record this season were splits at Mercyhurst and North Dakota, a pair of NCAA tournament teams a year ago.
Her first year at Clarkson, Rattray managed seven goals and 25 points in 37 games. Last year, in just 24 outings, she posted 12-15-27 totals, including a six-game, season-opening scoring streak.
“It gets easier as you go,” said the 5-foot-6 Rattray. “Freshman year was a little rough, but I (guess I’ve) picked up where I left off.”
Rattray recorded a point in 13 of Clarkson’s first 14 contests this season. She fashioned a string of six consecutive multiple-point outings that included a trio of three-point games, and also set personal highs in power-play goals and game-winning goals.
“She’s a great leader,” said Clarkson co-head coach Shannon Desrosiers. “She gives 100 percent every practice, every single drill, and definitely prides herself on that. She’s really competitive and wants to win and is a great kid and a great teammate, both on and off the ice.”
A multiple medal winner with the Canadian Women’s Under-18 team, Rattray sat out a 14-0 exhibition win in September over her old Ottawa Senators AA team, with whom she was a team captain and a top scorer in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League.
“It was kind of neat to play my old team,” she said. “They got to see how the college game is and it was a confidence booster for us.”
Since the program’s Division 1 inception in 2003-04, Clarkson has made the NCAA tournament just once, in 2010. This year’s squad would definitely like to get back to that threshold. The team returned six of its top 10 scorers from a year ago, when Clarkson finished 22-10-5 overall and 15-5-2 in ECAC Hockey.
“We have a lot of depth everywhere,” said Rattray. “We have solid goaltending and a really good defense. We use everyone to their strengths and we have a really close team. Depth is a big part of that, and we click on and off the ice.”
She expects another ECAC dogfight this year, after the Golden Knights finished third in the 2011-12 standings behind Cornell and Harvard.
“It’s probably as strong as it’s been,” said Rattray. “It’s a strong league and it should be even better this year. It’s always a good game and you always have to battle.”
Rattray closed out November on a tear. She notched a hat trick in a 4-1 win at Quinnipiac on Nov. 16, and then one-timed home the game-winner the following afternoon in a 2-1 overtime victory at Princeton.
Despite her scoring prowess, the 20-year-old Rattray considers herself more of a rough-and-tumble skater than a pure finesse player.
“I like to work the corners and go hard to the net,” she said.
That was evident in the game at Princeton, where she would routinely curl out of the corners with a hard-won puck to look for an open teammate or launch her own shot. After a pair of partial breakaways in the third period were unsuccessful, she forced a turnover early in OT by stripping a Princeton defender behind the net to create a feed out front that went unconverted.
Undaunted, Rattray then set up her own game-winner when she forced another turnover inside the Princeton blueline, then finished off a nifty three-way passing play with Carly Mercer and Erin Ambrose by shelving a shot past Princeton netminder Kimberly Newell.
“It was a really nice play,” said Rattray. “I made sure I got it up high enough so that she couldn’t come across.”
“She’s one of our best players, and she gets the job done when it matters,” said Desrosiers — who coaches the team with her husband, Matt, a fellow St. Lawrence graduate — adding, “We look for kids with a good work ethic, and she’s one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Shannon Desrosiers also believes that Rattray’s entire class has benefited from the roles they were thrust into as freshmen two years ago, mere months after Clarkson had made the NCAAs for the first time.
“They learned a lot,” said Desrosiers. “They’re thriving now and it taught them a lot.”
Rattray is majoring in business, with a concentration in entrepreneurship and innovation. The business program is one of the reasons she decided to enroll at Clarkson, after also taking recruiting visits to Division 1 powers Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth.
“It’s a small school, but the support system is awesome,” she said. “The team atmosphere is also awesome, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
She still has 1½ years left to play at Cheel Arena, but is keeping an eye on the future for when her college career comes to a close.
“My goal is to keep playing,” said Rattray. “Hopefully, I’ll get to the senior or Olympic level, and to represent Canada in the Olympics would be the ultimate goal for me.”
Until then, there’s still business to take care of in upstate New York.
“Jamie’s a big energy player,” added Desrosiers. “Our team goes as she goes, and no one wants to win more than her.”
This article originally appeared in the December 2012 issue of New York Hockey Journal.