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

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Is it gameday?

George Roll was mentioned on INCH this week, not for the two wins at home against Miami and Bowling Green, but for what he did in practice this week to 'motivate' the team.

"Clarkson's coaching staff, in an effort to snap the Golden Knights' four-game skid, made the team practice with wooden sticks and took away access to the players lounge and locker-room radio last week. The message: Such things are luxuries that are earned. The result: Clarkson won twice, beating visiting Bowling Green and Miami."

So now, without further ado, here is a Top Ten list of things Roll will do to motivate the team as the season progresses:

10. Facebook privileges reduced to Wednesdays and Thursdays.
9. No more BK runs on the zamboni.
8. Skate sharpening done by hand only.
7. Only flat blades allowed at practice.
6. Weight room radio only plays Kenny Loggins.
5. Barben Rooms post game gathering to only serve Oyster Crackers and Fresca.
4. No more lobster thermador at team dinners, only lobster scampi.
3. Hires five Cornell students to follow David Leggio around campus.
2. Bonesaw Brigade replaced by less rowdy, yet oddly entertaining "Jim Duggan's Hacksaw Homies."
1. Weekly team movie night replaced with forced listening to Bob Ahfeld read this blog.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Roller Coaster Ride Continues

Mr. Hyde comes through on Saturday night. Clarkson defeats #3 Miami 4-2.
Rutherglen completes a monster weekend with the game winner.
Weller and Guthrie open the scoring, Zalewski provides the insurance.
Leggio stops 23 in the win.
Men head to Yale and Brown next weekend. Which team will show up?

In Ithaca the Clarkson women completed their own four point weekend with a 5-1 drubbing of Cornell.
Selina nets a hat trick.
Hansen improves to 5-1-0 with a 19 save effort.
Women now 8-6-2, face Yale and Brown at home next weekend.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Turkey makes us lazy. Turkey makes the Knights score.
No updates from us, but five goals from Clarkson!
Rutherglen with two goals and an assist.
Clarkson outshot 23-20 but Leggio stops them all.
Huge matchup against Miami of not Florida tomorrow.

Women take down league upstart Colgate 2-1.
Gaudet ties it with 41 seconds left with the goalie on the bench.
Balikowski from Eusepi on the breakaway for the GWG SHORTHANDED!!
Hansen stops 17 of 18 in the win.
Cornell up next!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

SCSU 7 - Clarkson 2


Clarkson loses fourth straight, falls to Saint Cloud 7-2.
McNulty gives up 5 goals, replaced by Leggio in second period.
St. Cloud outscores Knights 11-2 for the weekend.

Knights look to regroup at home next weekend against Miami and Bowling Green.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Women's Hockey - Clarkson v. Wayne State

After a closely contested weekend at home against Robert Morris, the Clarkson Women's Hockey team skated away with a sweep over the Colonials, taking the Friday game 1-0, and the Saturday game 3-1. This week, the Knights head to Deeeeeeeee-troit to face the Wayne State Warriors in non-conference play.

Last weekend, Stephanie Hansen started both games in net for an injured Kira Hurley and came away with two victories, thanks to timely saves and a solid defense in front of her.. On Friday, she earned the Knights 3rd shut-out of the season, stopping all 16 shots she faced. Despite putting 36 shots on net, the only marker the Knights could tally was the game winner on a 5 on 3 power play from Ashley Shaidle. The following night was more of the same. The Colonials actually jumped on the board in the first two take a 1-0 lead, but were held to a total of eight shots on net the entire game. Clarkson opened up with 33 shots on net, and behind Genevieve Lavoie's two goal performance, took the victory which was sealed away by Carlee Eusepi midway through the 3rd.

The Warriors are coming off a wild weekend where they were pummled by Minnesota State 6-1 on Friday night, then came roaring back on Saturday for a 7-3 win. The Knights defense will need to key in on Melissa Boal who is the leading scorer for Wayne State with 16 points on 12 goals and 4 assists this season. The Boal, DiPietro, Poyton trio has made the majority of the magic happen for the Warriors with a combined 34 points on the season. The remainder of the team has 31 combined. It appears a platoon is in place between juniors Valery Turcotte and Tiffany Thompson in net, but neither has stood out, with both fielding GAA's in the 3.00+ range and save percentages in the mid to upper .800's. It would not surprise me to see both in net this weekend.

For the Knights the score sheet is topped by youth right now. freshman Britney Selina leads the team in scoring with ten points, Lavoie and sophomore Marie Jo-Gaudet close behind. Melissa Marshall is certainly making the most of her Senior year as well with two goals and five assists. Every Knight skate has a point this season, and everyone is contributing.
This weekend the Knights will likely be without All-American Hurley again who is apparently recovering from a post-concussion injury that was recently aggravated. The Knights hope to have her back for conference play next week against Cornell and Colgate but in the meantime it appears Stephanie Hansen will get the call against the Warriors.

If there's any upside to this, it's that the defensive unit is really baring down to the level they were at last year. It's hard not to get the win when you only allow eight shots on net. Hansen has proven herself capable over the past few years and Clarkson fans should feel pretty confident that the majority of those shots that are put on on net don't go in. Wayne State falls in the same dangerous category as Robert Morris. They nearly upset St. Lawrence in Canton early in the season after taking a 4-1 lead early in the second behind several power-play goals. St. Lawrence ended up coming back to take that game 5-4, but the point is, if you make mistakes, the Warriors are talented enough to make life miserable for you. The usual for Clarkson, outshoot, stay out of the box, and don't give up any scoring opportunities.


  • Clarkson 3, Wayne State 1
  • Clarkson 4, Wayne State 3

SCS Who?

Let's be honest here, we don't know much about the WCHA, except for the fact that they are the conference that produces the winners of the national championship every year since Ted Donato had a full head of hair. Other than that, they could be playing in the Big Ten conference and we wouldn't care too much. Fortunately for us, the blogosphere is a large and very informative place, and we have located one of the most knowledgeable college hockey people in the central time zone to help us out. Chris Dilks of the Western College Hockey Blog is our guest Balki this week. No word on if he has been making good time with our hot blond neighbor.

CHF: Do you expect the run and gun games everyone seems to be predicting?

WCH: I don't think it will look like a rec league game, but I do think we'll see some wide open games. St. Cloud seems to be trying to play a more wide open offensive style, and this non-conference series could be a good chance for them to do that. I think a lot will depend on how the games are called this weekend, because both teams seem reliant on the powerplay to get their offense going.

CHF: How has St. Cloud adjusted to the new coach?

WCH: Bob Motzko's arrival at St. Cloud has been nothing but positive for St. Cloud. By the end of Craig Dahl's reign, I think a lot of people had lost faith in him to lead the Huskies to that next level. Motzko has rejuvenated the team and the fan base, and has them believing again that they can compete with the best teams in the WCHA. Motzko has also upgraded St. Cloud's recruiting and has some very good players coming into St. Cloud in the future.

CHF: Who's the team leader?

On offense, Andrew Gordon is the team leader. He's been one of St. Cloud's top scoring threats for the past three years, and I think he's the guy the team counts on to score. On defense, senior Casey Borer is a guy with a lot of experience. He's struggled a little bit statistically because St. Cloud has been pairing him with one of their freshmen defenseman, but I still think he's an excellent defensive defenseman.

CHF: Has goaltender Bobby Goepfert lived up to the hype?

Bobby has gotten off to a pretty slow start this season. Other than one game at North Dakota when he made 40 saves in a 2-2 tie, he hasn't looked like the same player that was so dominant last year. Part of the problem was that in his first three starts of the season, he was wearing a different pair of pads, while his own pair of custom goalie pads were being made. He wore the new pads in the North Dakota and Minnesota series and played a little better.

Coach Motzko said earlier this week that freshmen Jase Weslosky will get one of the starts this weekend. He's being groomed has Goepfert's replacement for next season. He started one game in Mankato earlier this year and played pretty well. He may not be as talented as Goepfert right now, but he's also much better than your average back-up goalie.

CHF: Who's under the radar on offense? Defense?

Forward John Swanson is a guy that's really under the radar. He's a local St. Cloud kid and wasn't all that highly recruited, but gets by on pure effort. He's actually worked his way up to St. Cloud's first line and has been seeing some powerplay time. He missed a few games due to a shoulder injury, and the Huskies really missed his presence.

On defense, junior Matt Stephenson is a kid that doesn't get a lot of credit, but I think he's a pretty good defensive defenseman, and is starting to contribute a little more offense this year.

CHF: How has the crowd been at the NHC? Will it be a sell out? Are students on break?

The atmosphere at St. Cloud started to die out towards the end of Craig Dahl's tenure as coach, but it's starting to come back. They've been pretty close to selling out all of their games. The students aren't on break, but I'm guessing they won't be quite as wild as they were last week when the Gophers were in town.

CHF: Do you think teams from the west might overlook an ECAC team?

I'm sure Bob Motzko has spent all week making sure his players don't overlook Clarkson. The fans are probably a different story. Most hockey fans aren't as familiar with teams from outside the conference, so I don't think they'll take it as seriously. Also, three out of St. Cloud's first four series have been against Denver, North Dakota, and Minnesota, who all seem to be playing in the Frozen Four every year, so I think St. Cloud could be due for a bit of letdown since their opponent isn't as big a name as some of their others.

CHF: Can Clarkson sweep?

A road sweep would be tough. I could definitely see Clarkson winning one game, but I have a tough time believing St. Cloud would lose two games at home. Plus, St. Cloud has shown a propensity to tie games this season and had a tie in each of their two series against ECAC teams last season, so a tie wouldn't surprise me.

CHF: Game predictions?

I suck at predictions, but I'll say that each teams wins a game by the score of 5-3.

Thanks Chris, if you ever head out past Erie, Pennsylvania, look us up.

Speaking of sucking at picks last weekend I went 7-4-0 in picks moving my season stats to 26-17-9. This week brings us eight conference games and 3 non-conference games.

  • Sacred Heart @ RPI - This will be a pretty good game. RPI 6 - Sacred Heart 5
  • Colgate @ Quinnipiac - Rock bottom for the Raiders. Quinnipiac 5 - Colgate 2
  • Cornell @ Princeton - All four of Princeton's games have been one goal affairs. Princeton 3 - Cornell 2
  • Yale @ Dartmouth - The Big Green found their legs last weekend. Dartmouth 5 - Yale 2
  • Brown @ Harvard - Harvard in OT. Harvard 4 - Brown 3
  • Clarkson @ SCSU - Clarkson comes in angry, takes the opener. Clarkson 5 - SCSU 4
  • Colgate @ Princeton - Colgate salvages a split. Colgate 3 - Princeton 2
  • Cornell @ Quinnipiac - Probably the best game of the weekend. Cornell 3 - Quinnipiac 2
  • Yale @ Harvard - Harvard sweeps. Harvard 5 - Yale 3
  • Brown @ Dartmouth - Dartmouth sweeps. Dartmouth 4 - Brown 1
  • Clarkson @ SCSU - SCSU is too much at home. SCSU 4 - Clarkson 2
  • Yale @ Mercyhurst - Yale in a close game. Yale 2 - Mercyhurst 1
  • Harvard @ BU - Harvard's pre-beanbot Boston success continues. Harvard 4 - BU 2

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A punch in the face.

I'm just about ready to give Blogger a "punch in the face." It has been up and down like crazy over the last few days preventing us from feeding you more delicious Golden Knight mush.

So last week. Not so good. Clarkson was in it both games, but came up short when a high-powered Quinnipiac team buried an empty-netter for the win, and Princeton held off the Knights for a 3-2 victory. As I mentioned on the College Hockey News Blog it's the curse of the Team of the Week. The Women managed to sweep Robert Morris 1-0 and 3-1 on the weekend.

The Men will be off on a long road-trip to St. Cloud this weekend where our friend Chris from Western College Hockey will be helping us both preview the series and be our eyes and ears around the Huskies' big sheet over the weekend. Fans there seem to be excited to see a different style ECAC team out their way, and we're sure the Knights will put on a show. The Women will visit Wayne State who has been playing decently of late, taking three of their last four.

A couple quick recruit notes:

  • Scott Freeman had three goals and two assists for Canada East in the World Junior A Championships. Canada East fell to Canada West in the final 4-3.
  • Brian Rufenach scored five points in his return to the Lindsay Muskies lineup on Friday. He had 2 goals and 3 assists.
  • Louke Oakley has a 8-29-37 line with Bowmanville as he continues to pile on the helpers.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Quick Women's Preview

Sadly I've been buried and haven't had a chance to put together a complete Women's Preview this week. But let me nail down the basics.

The Women played admirably last weekend. They took it to nationally-ranked Harvard and Dartmouth squads that had a number of Olympians returning between them. They outshot both squads, and both teams rode hot goalies who have been suspect at times in the past to 2-0 wins on both nights. Playing the expected top four teams in the league they've come out with an 0-4-1 record, but they're not blow-outs, they're tight competitive games. Giving this team a little time to grow, they can certainly add some wins to that column on the back-sides of these series.

To the task at hand, Robert Morris is another trap team, but if I was just looking at this at a glance, I'd say it should be a blowout. Why is it a trap? Robert Morris has been highly competitive against teams like Boston University and RPI, who I feel Clarkson is a level above, but are growing stronger. The Colonials have also blown out teams like Union.

Clarkson has an offense that plays with the style of the top offensive teams in the conference and country. Against those same offenses we see tight games. Against teams new to Division-I Women's Hockey we see lots of goals. I suspect one of these games will be closer than we're comfortable with, and the other will be a blow out. Despite the two losses last weekend, Kira Hurley brought her GAA down to 2.29. Despite a lot of L's she and the Knights D are bringing back the form we're expecting.

That's four hockey games in just over 24 hours starting with the Women at 3:00 against RMU. The Men at 7:00 against the Q, then against RMU again at 1:00 and the Men finish up with Princeton starting at 4:30. Bring a sleeping bag!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fear and Loathing on the College Hockey Trail

Pack up the car, charge the iPod, and sharpen up the skates, cause half of Clarkson Hockey Fans is headed on a road trip to the frozen tundra of Potsdam, New York. This is not my first trip to Cheel this season, I saw the debacle that was the USA U-18 game, and it will not be my last game of the season. This trip will only last one game though as a day off and prior engagements will limit me to Friday's men's and women's games. There has been a noticeable buzz generating about the Clarkson Golden Knights this season, and I intend to catch some of it this weekend. With a little luck we may even see live game blogging, a Clarkson Hockey Fans first. Live blogging or not, I'm looking forward to this trip and am very anxious to the see the men's team play a meaningful game against a high quality opponent.

Quinnipiac is coming off a three point weekend at Union and RPI, while Princeton is coming off a zero point weekend against the same teams. Quinnipiac is a team loaded with offensive talent that while picked to finish in the middle of the pack, will contend for a first round bye at the end of the season. The Bobcats have the second ranked offense in the ECAC behind Clarkson and are scoring at 4.25 goals per game clip. Their defense is ranked 6th in the league and gives up just under 3 goals per game. So far on the road the Bobcats are 2-2-2 this year with the two losses coming at North Dakota in the first weekend of the season. Both of the Bobcats road wins came against Union, who the Bobcats played two games in a row, in the consolation game of the Governor's Cup and the following weekend to open the ECAC season.

Right now the Bobcats are lead by freshman Brandon Wong who has six goals and two assists Brian Leitch and Dan Travis who have two goals and six assists each. Quinnipiac has three solid scoring lines and a fourth line that head coach Rand Pecknold really likes. They can score with anyone of the lines they put out and Clarkson will need to be on their toes to keep the puck out of the net. On defense the Bobcats turn to All American, Reid Cashman. Cashman is the anchor of a young defensive corps and will be held to task this weekend against the number one offense in the country. In net Bud Fisher is having a solid start to his sophomore campaign and has put very similar numbers to Clarkson netminder David Leggio.

The Golden Knights face their third straight opponent in where they will be expected to play a near perfect game. In the past two against Harvard and Dartmouth the Knights met the challenge. I would expect coach Roll and staff to have the team ready for this game. The game will hinge on the special teams play of both squads as the new rules interpretations are still being learned and the calls will be numerous. Clarkson will rely on it's defense without out senior leader Michael Grenzy, who will be sidelined until Thanksgiving rehabbing a separated shoulder. Even with that I will predict a Clarkson victory, in a close, possibly high scoring game.

Saturday night against Princeton is a classic 'trap game.' Sports fans in general know when their team is heading into a trap. The opponent is weaker on paper, the victory should be in hand, and yet the favorite team stinks out the joint and is upset. It happens at least a dozen times a year in the NFL. It's inevitable. In college hockey the trap game can be a season breaker, just ask Minnesota. Princeton is a team that is far inferior to Clarkson talent wise and statistic wise. However, this game falls on a Saturday after three pivotal games and before a long trip to Minnesota to take on St. Cloud State. To say the Knights might over look this game would not be an overstatement.

The Tigers are not to be wrote off. After a 3-3 tie to open the season, the have suffered three straight 4-3 defeats. This is a team that will be coming into the north country angry and looking for validation. Lead by senior Kevin Westgarth the Tigers are a team that is looking to find their identity. Will the find it in St. Lawrence county? That remains to be seen, but to ignore Princeton is a big mistake the Knights can ill afford to make.

In the predicition department last weekend I was solid on Friday and laid a goose egg on Saturday. Those are the breaks. I was 5-5-2 on the weekend and move to 19-13-9 overall. Here's the take on this weekend's games:

  • Dartmouth at Colgate - Colgate continues to struggle. Dartmouth 4-1
  • Wayne State at Brown - Brown is better than WSU. Brown 4-2
  • Harvard at Cornell - Harvard off a big win, Cornell plays tough at Lynah. Cornell 2-1
  • Princeton at St. Lawrence - Too far to travel for the Tigers. SLU 5-1
  • Quinnipiac at Clarkson - Knights make a statement. Clarkson 6 - 3
  • Wayne State at Brown - Brown sweeps. Brown 4-1
  • Harvard at Colgate - Colgate is in trouble. Harvard 3-0
  • Quinnipiac at St. Lawrence - Quinnipiac splits the weekend. Quinnipiac 4-3
  • Dartmouth at Cornell - The Big Green sweeps. Dartmouth 4-3
  • UConn at Yale - Bulldogs win a game they should win. Yale 3-1
  • Princeton at Clarkson - Clarkson avoids the trap. Clarkson 5-2

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Zalewski Named Player of the Week

Coming off a two goal, two assist weekend at Harvard and Dartmouth, Clarkson forward Steve Zalewski was named the ECAC Player of the Week for the second time this season. Zalewski has 8 goals and 4 assists in 8 games this year. Clarkson was also named the College Hockey News Team of the Week and is currently ranked #12 in the nation.

Goaltender David Leggio was named to the ECAC honor roll for his two win weekend, in which he made 62 saves.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Clarkson / Harvard Thoughts

I was fortunate enough with a large contigent of Alumni in the Boston area to get to see the Knights live at Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge as they defeated Harvard, and also chat with some of the players and coaches after the game.

At the end of the first period, a few miscues cost the Knights as things felt like they suddenly got sloppy. Passes were getting picked off, or were bouncing off of sticks despite how accurate they were, and Harvard ended up putting two goals in to take a 2-1 lead on the Knights. Once Clarkson got into the second though you could tell some changes had been made, and they were clicking on all cylinders. The passing became more crisp, opportunities were being generated, and the Knights always seemed to have a man in front of the net, or preparing to skate into the slot for a scoring attempt, They made Harvard pay for every mistake.

After the game the team joined the Alumni for a few minutes, and I had suggested to the team that they skate 4 on 5 for a longer portion of the game. Maybe not literally, but whatever those guys were doing on the ice short-handed that night, totally messed with Harvard. Nick Dodge had a beautiful short-handed goal, and immediately after the faceoff, grabbed the puck again and tried to put another in less then ten seconds later. Harvard's PP unit was fairly disoirented on each PP, and it felt like they were on the kill, not the Knights. The team really put it together in the last 30 minutes and definitely left a lot of Clarkson fans happy.

While I did not get a chance to head up to Hanover for the Dartmouth game is seemed like more of the same. A lot of reliance on special teams as the Big Green had 18 power play opportunities (many of which ended up getting reduced.) Clarkson put in three goals on half as many PP attempts themselves. Clarkson scored a shortie, a 4x4, and a 5x3... in the first 12 minutes of the game, and Clarkson was outshot 24 to 37 by the Big Green. There's no doubt the coaches will try to curb the penalties taken, but it's been a few years since I've felt this comfortable hearing that the PK unit is coming out.

A couple of other notes:

  • Clarkson leads the country in scoring offense with a 4.88 goals per game mark.
  • They're also 14th in defense.
  • Power Play is 7th in the country, converting 23.5% of the time.
  • First away weekend sweep in four years.
  • Best start since 1991-1992 season.
  • You know things are going your way when shots from your own blue line go in.

Saturday, November 04, 2006





Friday, November 03, 2006

Weekend Previi

Sorry we have been lazy this week, but there hasn't been too much breaking news in the Clarkson community to note on, and we've been keeping busy with other things. This weekend both the men's and women's team face off against the league's defending champions and their road partner. Easily the toughest road trip for the men's team. All road trips are tough, but this one is a monster to open league play. This weekend's match-up is also a tall order for the women at home.

The men head to Cambridge after a 'week off' with a 4-1-1 record. Knight fans might feel more comfortable if the team was not demolished at home by the US-U18's last Saturday. However, fear not Clarkson fans, from a trusted and reputable source we here at CHF have learned that the Knights had a 'hard skate' on Monday. No word, however, if this hard skate left captain Nick Dodge keeled over at the goal line gasping, "Nick Dodge, CLARKSON UNIVERSITY." One can infer from head coach George Roll's comments after Saturday's game that it was not an easy week of practice for the Knights.

One can also imagine that it was not the world's best week of practice for the Harvard Crimson. Harvard traveled to Dartmouth to open the ECAC and were thoroughly smacked around in a 5-2 defeat. This opened up numerous of questions concerning the Crimson's defense and goaltending. A weakness Clarkson will look to exploit with their 4.67 goals per game offense. One game does not make a season, so look for Harvard to rebound from the loss and tighten up on D.

Special teams are the most important part of the game right now. With the new emphasis on reducing interference and illegal stick work, there are going to be many penalties called in these first set of league games. Clarkson has been Jekyl and Hyde on the penalty kill, giving up five powerplay goals to LSSU two Fridays ago, then one powerplay goal on Saturday, then looking very soft on the PK against the US-U18's. The return of senior D-man Mike Grenzy can not come fast enough as he is a crucial member of both the penalty kill and the powerplay.

In net, Kyle McNulty was the goaltender in net when the Knights won last. In the past coach Roll has gone with the 'hot hand' and McNulty is that right now. In out opinion though, David Leggio is still the starting goaltender and we would be very surprised if he did not start tonight's game.

Most of this holds true at Dartmouth, except they are better than Harvard right now. It's going to take a very solid effort and a complete 120 minutes of hockey to take four points out of this weekend. George Roll has stated though, that he now expects this team to take four points every weekend, no matter where they are playing. If Clarkson can sweep the weekend you will start to hear some national buzz about the team.

Looking at my predictions last weekend:

Not my best week. My overall rankings fall to, 14-8-7. Still respectable. Here's the slate for the ECAC opening weekend:

  • Princeton at Rensselaer - RPI 4-2
  • Quinnipiac at Union - Quinnipiac 5 -1
  • Colgate at Yale - Yale 2-1
  • Cornell at Brown - Cornell 3-1
  • St. Lawrence at Dartmouth - Dartmouth 4-2
  • Quinnipiac at Rensselaer - Quinnipiac 4-3
  • Princeton at Union - Princeton 3-0
  • Colgate at Brown - Colgate 5-1
  • Cornell at Yale - Yale 3-1
  • St. Lawrence at Harvard - Harvard 2-1
Clarkson can win both games, but I don't see it happening.
  • Clarkson at Harvard - Clarkson 5-2
  • Clarkson at Dartmouth - Dartmouth 4-2

Women's Preview - Clarkson vs. Dartmouth / Harvard

Coming off of a UGE weekend on the road where the Knights righted the ship and took three points from Quinnipiac and Princeton, Clarkson heads home to face Harvard and Dartmouth in one of the biggest series of the year (sound familiar?) Why is this so big? These are two top-tier teams that Clarkson believes they can beat, and taking at least a split here will go a long way towards home ice in the playoffs, but these teams are slightly different bringing back several top-caliber players who were with their National Teams last teams in Turin.

This weekend the hated Crimson of Harvard skates into Cheel for their first real test of the season. Harvard opened the season up with an exhibition win over a strong McGill squad where they squeaked out a 2-0 victory. I suspect coach Katey Stone was not impressed, and Harvard came out last weekend scoring a combined 21 goals over RPI and Union to officially open up their season. Harvard returns three Olympians from the squad, Julie Chu and Caitlin cahow who were on the US National Team, and Sarah Vaillancourt who was on Team Canada. These three players have 29 points combined after two games. Granted they're against RPI and Union, but they figure to make a big impact on this Harvard team. In addition Jenny Brine and Jennifer Sifers also return, and may be even more dangerous than last year with defenses too busy focusing on the Olympic Trio. The biggest question mark with be the goaltending situation. Sophomore Brittany Martin appears to have the starting job, but has only faced 25 shots on the season against weaker offenses.

Clarkson playing Dartmouth might feel like two teams playing against mirror images of each other. Dartmouth opened up the season with a pair of losses to Mercyhurst but has been able to play solidly against teams they're expected to beat, putting up 16 goals against the Union/RPI duo themselves. Freshman Sarah Parsons already has an impressive 10 points to lead the Big Green, she'd be a rookie surprise, except that she too was an Olympian at Turin, along with teammates Gillians Apps and Cherie Piper this trio has a combined 28 points in their first four games. Carli Clemis has had three of the four starts for the Big Green and has a 2.37 GAA and a .892 save pct. She took both losses at Mercyhurst.

Last weekend, Clarkson's offense exploded at Quinnipiac behind christine Balikowski's natural hat trick as they defeated the Bobcats 6-3. At Princeton in the USCHO Game of the Week, the Knights skated to a 1-1 tie against a Tiger team that has had Clarkson's number in the past. Clarkson actually held the lead in this game after scoring a goal on a delayed penalty late in the first, but a penalty, one of only four power-plays given up by the Knights in the game, ended up being their undoing as Princeton scored a power play marker with under three minutes to go to secure the tie. Britney Selina got on the scoresheet again, and Courtney O'Connor got her first point as a Golden Knight giving all Clarkson skaters a point this season. Kira Hurley had a strong weekend in goal. She gave up a single goal against Quinnipiac before being relieved in the 3rd period by Jessica Finley. On Saturday she saved 23, and only gave up a power play goal to help the Knights to a tie.

It will be interesting to see how Coach Seeley decides to have his team play. Adapting to a faster, more aggressive style, has been difficult for the Knights offense against top teams, and has resulted in breaks the other way. Against weaker teams it has resulted in bunches of goals. Does Coach stick with this style, or does he go back to the defensive shell that won victories last season over these teams? Regardless, good defense, great goaltending and smart play are all going to need to be in the cards for Clarkson to take points this weekend.

CHF Picks:

  • Clarkson 1, Harvard 4
  • Clarkson 2, Dartmouth 1