Did You Know: The Clarkson Hockey program has amassed 10,001 goals since the 1920-21 season?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Weekend Preview

Since we've been putting up alot of previews here is a new take on this weekends games. We had a chance to chat with RIT blogger Mark Komar and get his thoughts on Clarkson, RIT and this weekends matchup.

Clarkson Hockey Fans (CHF): Tell us about yourself and give a plug to your website and blog

Mark Komar (MK): I have been an RIT Corner Crew member for over 10 years following the hockey team. I started my website http://www.ritcornercrew.org/ a few years ago to put everything that we do in one place. This year I added the blog - ritcornercrew.blogspot.com, I will be adding my thoughts on the games there.

CHF: Can you explain the Corner Crew?

MK: The best way to describe the Corner Crew is that it is the primary student section of RIT - with some alumni mixed in. We do a lot of cheers during the games. And we really like to get on opposing goalies. I think we add a lot to the hockey experience, and I know the team and coach appreciate the energy we bring:

CHF: What was the highlight of the first season in D-1?

MK: Well, the St. Lawrence win was huge just because it was the best name opponent to come to Rochester and then to pull off the upset was amazing. I think the Cornell game was a close second because the Tigers were able to hang in with them at Lynah - not an easy task. After that, really just that RIT was in so many games was a big highlight and a good omen of things to come.

CHF: Turning to this weekend, how do the Tigers match up against the Saints and Knights?

MK: Clearly RIT will be underdogs this weekend. I think RIT will be able to make a game of it against St. Lawrence because the Saints lost a lot of offense to graduation. That is RIT's best chance of getting a point out of the weekend. As for Clarkson, with all the offense the Knights return, the goalie, probably Guimond, may need to put up an amazing performance to win. Looking at Clarkson's numbers, it's easy to see why they could be looking at the ECACHL title.

CHF: Is Guimond the #1 starter this year?

MK: He is the primary starter. Coach Wilson will be looking to get Louis Menard in some games early this year to see what he can do. He looked good in preseason last year, but lost time due to first some paperwork in getting his eligibility and then injuries.

CHF: You mentioned RIT hung around in many games last year. Do you think that they ran out of gas late or just teams made adjustments in the third period? Follow that up with: Do you think a year of experience will help them keep their legs?

MK: I think a little of everything. Many of last year's players were recruited for DIII hockey. So really, they had to work hard against the DI players. I think that the size and speed of the teams wore down RIT quite a bit. The other thing is that I do think some teams were just thinking RIT would be a nice exhibition, and then all of the sudden RIT is taking it to them and the team winds up playing harder in the 3rd to hold on to the win.

CHF: Who is the go to guy on offense for the Tigers?

MK: Simon Lambert is the player to watch on offense. He had 16 goals last year and that was far and away the best on the team. I think the player to watch this year on offense that I think could do some big things is Steve Pinizzotto. He started the season late due to injury and I don't know if he was fully healthy all season and still put up 13 points in his 20 games.

CHF: Any new recruits going to see alot of ice time?

MK: I think Matt Crowell and Anton Kharin are probably going to see the most on offense. RIT also signed some bigger defensemen, which is much needed. So I think you will see a lot of Steve Coon, Al Mazur, and Dan Ringwald.

CHF: Final score prediction?

MK: Clarkson wins 5-2. I think Clarkson will try to get ahead early and cruise to a win.

CHF: Let's hear you questions about Clarkson.

MK: How do you think Clarkson will handle the pressure of being the preseason #2 in the ECACHL?

CHF: I think that they know coming into this year that they have the talent to be a top team in the league, and have just underperformed in the past. I don't think rankings are really on their minds right now, as cliched as that sounds. I think they will live up to expectations and will finish in the top four of the league. I picked them to finish first, but I'm a homer.

MK: Is defense a concern for the Knights? The numbers seem rather ordinary.

CHF: I think it is to tell the truth. Chris Brekelmans was a rock back there and losing him leaves a big question mark on the blue line. They have some big kids playing but its a learning curve. Paquet and Mason are very skilled but need to prove it this year. Grenzy is probably the top guy now and the rest of the defense will be looking up to him. Clitsome QB's the powerplay at times and has some offensive skill, he would probably be number two. I think they need to gel quickly or these OOC games could be adventurous 6-5 affairs.

MK: What about goaltending? It looks like Leggio and McNulty split time - is that the case this year as well?

CHF: Leggio won the job, in my mind, at Lynah last year in March. He made 104 saves on 111 shots in that environment, that's gotta be worth something. I'm not sure what Roll will do early on. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes with Leggio or if he splits time between McNulty, Leggio and freshman Matt Smith. I think it will boil down to who's got the hot hand. Having two goaltenders that a coach can feel comfortable starting is a luxury, so I guess it remains to be seen. If I had to make a prediction, I'd say Leggio starts both games.

MK: What about the offense? That seems to be the strength of the team. Anyone who is not so obvious that we should watch for?

CHF: Max Kolu. Probably the fastest skater on the team and has one of the hardest shots too, he's a solid player on the fourth line and is always a threat if teams don't watch for him. I think Beca and Marks are going to be standout freshman in the league too.

MK: Can you explain the huge difference between the home and road records last year?

CHF: Nope. I think the youth of the team was a big reason. I know these guys all travel in juniors and what not, but there's a big difference in a road trip to Kitchner and a road trip to Lynah, Starr. Even to Princeton, that's 7 hours on a bus, just sitting. I think this year they know they have to perform on the road, and it will be a big point of emphasis with Roll and his staff.

MK: Last question - prediction on the game?

CHF: Well, I think the team will be looking to make a statement this weekend. Saturday night is the programs 2000th game, and its at home. I think your prediction of Clarkson coming out fast will hold true. I think Clarkson takes it 4-1. Plus RIT hasn't had the experience of playing SLU on Friday and Clarkson on Saturday. It can take alot out of even the best teams.


Here's our predictions for the weekend:
Clarkson 5 - Niagara 3
Clarkson 4 - RIT 1


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