Our friend Chris over at Western College Hockey
sent us an e-mail asking us to participate in a college hockey roundtable discussion about our team. Here is our take on the 2005-2006 season.Give a brief summary of your team's season.
Clarkson jumped out to a 9-4-1 start with the help of ten home games in the early going , and garnered some national attention. The Knights took a road trip to Ohio to take on #3 Miami and an offensively skilled Bowling Green squad. Clarkson showed some grit in a 5-4 comeback win over Bowling Green and went toe to toe with Miami in a hard fought 2-1 loss. After a second place finish at the Catamount Cup, losing to the #3 ranked Vermont Catamounts in the championship, Clarkson looked to its biggest test of the season, a date with #1 PWR ranked SLU in Ottawa. The Knights destroyed the Saints 6-2 in one of their best games of the year and things could not look better for Clarkson. A solid 12-6-2 record and all conference games left.
Then the wheels fell off.
Seven of the next eight games were on the road, and Clarkson lost seven of the next eight, with the lone win coming at Cheel against SLU. This stretch showed us two things. One, Clarkson had trouble playing on the road and two, the team had trouble playing on the road. In the end Clarkson finished up with a 14-2-2 record at home and a 3-15-0 record on the road. The Knights had a couple bright spots in the home stretch including a 3-1 victory at home over #3 ranked Cornell and a 8-2 pasting of Brown on senior day. Clarkson swept Princeton at home in the first round of the playoffs and traveled to Lynah to take on Cornell in the quarterfinals for a third straight year. Falling in two games to the Big Red with two double OT losses.What were your thoughts on how your team's season ended?
I think this is best summed up in the 5 stages of grief:
DENIAL - That didn't go in.
ANGER - **** that went in.
BARGAINING - Maybe that was a high stick?
DEPRESSION - Crap, they're shaking hands.
ACCEPTANCE - We'll be back.What offseason improvements can your team make to be better next year?
Obviously road play will need to improve. Clarkson had a potent offense this year and the biggest question marks were the defense and goaltending. With the emergence of David Leggio in net the Knights had a decent chance in every game down the stretch. The defense was very young and will be expected to develop and mature and look to start shutting opposing teams down. Clarkson also needs to find that "killer instinct" that the good teams have and finish teams off in the 3rd period instead of letting them hang around. I realize that games are not all 5-2 and 4-1 affairs, but with the youth of this team coming through, one goal games were not the most pleasant of experiences for fans.Are there any players on your team that might leave for the pros during the offseason?
Here's a list of drafted players:
Mike Sullivan - Sr. F - LA Kings
Mike Grenzy - Sr. D - Chicago
Shawn Weller - Jr. F - Ottawa
Steve Zalewski - Jr. F - San Jose
Grant Clitsome - Jr. D - Columbus
Shea Guthrie - So. F - New York Islanders
Phil Paquet - So. D - Montreal
Tyrell Mason - So. D - New York Islanders
Considering Nick Dodge is not drafted, yet. I don't anticipate anyone leaving any time soon. Weller and Guthrie are the two players who could leave early, but I think the odds of this are very slim. Next year we might see some early departures, but I think these guys are looking to prove something as a team next season.Which player(s) will be expected to carry the load for your team next season?
On offense it is Nick Dodge. No question he will be looking to continue his strong underclassman performance and being named captain of the team, he will have the Clarkson community watching his every move. He has the potential to put up big numbers and hopefully he can.
On the blue line, look for the development of Phil Paquet to come to the forefront. Grenzy and Clitsome are solid defenders, but Clarkson needs to roll three solid lines on defense to stay competitive. Paquet is a big player and has all the skills to be a force for the Knights. I look for him to start taking some more shots this year and really become an anchor for the defense.
In net, for right now, it's David Leggio. However expect coach Roll to go with Kyle McNulty or incoming freshman Matt Smith if things get shaky. Roll used two goaltenders to his advantage in the early part of the season and while Leggio might have the job for now, we could see a repeat performance this season.Which player will be most vital to your team's success next season?
Shawn Weller needs to be the guy that takes the focus off Dodge. Weller had 14 goals this year and will need to repeat that performance in 2006-2007. Weller has the skills to be a 25-30 goal guy and if he can hit 20 goals or more this season, the Knights will be a team to watch in the ECAC.What is your expectation for your team next season?
2006-2007 holds a great deal of potential
for the Golden Knights. Coach Roll has his full set of recruits in place. He has cleared out what he considered problems with the system and the events of the Mark Morris fiasco are starting to become distant memories in Clarkson's fanbase. The talent is there, the question is will the talent work hard enough to win. Clarkson has the potential to be a Frozen Four team next year but they need to put in 60 minutes every game and not expect to win on talent alone. As far as expectations go, Clarkson needs to earn an ECAC first round bye and get a home ice spot for the second round of the playoffs. Then let things ride from there. I fully expect Clarkson to do this and earn a spot the ECAC Final fFour in Albany, and stay in contention for an NCAA at-large bid.
Is it October yet?