by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: George Roll
2006-07 record: 25-9-5 (13-5-4 ECAC 2nd), ECAC tournament champions.
2006-07 postseason: Lost to Massachusetts 1-0 (OT)
Key Returnees: Nick Dodge SR. F, David Cayer SR. F, Steve Zalewski SR. F, David Leggio SR. F, Clint Clintsome SR. D
Key Losses: Shawn Weller (underclassman), Matt Curley, Michael Grenzy, Mike Sullivan, Brodie Rutherglen, Max Kolu
Although the 2006-07 season ended in disappointment for the Clarkson Golden Knights, a top NCAA seed only to lose in the first round, there is plenty to look forward to in 2007-08.
"I was extremely pleased," said Clarkson head coach George Roll. "I was pleased with our results in the playoffs in the conference, but the season ended in disappointment and we will look ahead to 07-08."
After going 6-5-1 in the first two months of the season, the Knights exploded with a 19-4-4 record from December to March.
"The toughest series was the St. Cloud State series," said Roll. In the two-game sweep by the Huskies, St. Cloud State outscored the Knights 11-2 in the two games. A rematch of the series will happen in late November as the Huskies this time will travel to Clarkson for two. After being swept by St. Cloud State, the Knights took off.
In December, the Knights went 5-0, which included a victory in the Badger showdown.
From January on, the Knights continued their solid play. Thanks to Shawn Weller, Nick Dodge and goaltender David Leggio, Clarkson outscored its opponents 50-33 in their final 15 games.
In the playoffs, the Knights defeated Harvard by a combined score of 5-1 in two games, and then had two dramatic victories in Albany as they defeated Dartmouth, 5-4, in the semis with 41 seconds left, then came from behind against Quinnipiac in the third period to win the title, 4-2, for the first time since 1999.
"We expect to be right back where we were. We have the personnel this year, and our goal is to get to the Frozen Four," Roll said.
This year, Clarkson will be led by second-year captain Nick Dodge, while Steve Zalewski and Grant Clitsome will be the alternate captains.
"They all have strong personalities, and leadership won't be an issue," Roll said about his three captains.
"Experience of what you went through is important. We gained that experience with road games at Wisconsin and St. Cloud State, and the NCAA tournament game against UMass. We came up short, but we are a better team going through that, and that gives us motivation for next year."
About the recruiting class coming in, Roll said he is "extremely pleased with the numbers. We lost some key seniors but I feel confident that we can replace them.
"(Brian) Rufenach will make an immediate impact."
A seventh-round pick of Detroit, Rufenach should get a lot of ice time as he will replace one of the two departing senior defensemen. Other recruits include two players from the league Rufenach played in (OPJHL) — wingers Scott Freeman and Brandon DeFazio — and left wing Julien Cayer.