Thursday, March 27, 2008

10 Things to Know About Clarkson

Note to the Hockey Gods: The presence of this article in no way should indicate an assumption or guarantee out of me that we will be playing on Saturday. It's merely an effort to get the previews out of the way before the weekend so--should we win--I don't have to throw up a half-assed preview on Saturday afternoon that no one will read.

The Clarkson Golden Knights hail from the ECAC, where they took first place in the regular season and lost in the quarterfinals during the conference tournament. Here are 10 things to know about that squad:

1) They were 21-12-4 overall and 15-4-3 in conference. They were 6-9-2 away from home, however, and 0-1-1 at neutral sites.
Good wins: Boston College. They also beat St. Cloud once and Princeton twice.
Bad losses: St. Lawrence twice, LSSU, Quinnipiac, Maine, Dartmouth, Yale, Colgate twice.
Common opponents to Michigan: Beat BC, beat Providence, split with LSSU.
Also of relevance: They got swept by CC in Colorado Springs

2) Clarkson has four guys with 10+ goals and seven with 20+ points. No one averages a point per game or makes the top 50 in scoring nationally. Matt Beca was their leading scorer with 10-24--34 in 37 games (63rd in points per game). Steve Zalewski led the team in goals with 21 (#11 in goals per game). They've only got one defenseman with double digit points....

3) ....Said defenseman's name is Grant Clitsome (#32 in points per game by a defenseman). I don't even have a joke here.

4) David Leggio is their goalie. He's got a 2.34 goals against (#19) and a .918 save percentage (#23).

5) Offensively they rank 20th in the country, scoring 2.86 goals per game on average. Defensively they're 17th, giving up 2.43 a night.

6) They don't take all that many penalties either, just 13.4 minute a game, which is in the top 3rd of the country. The power play? Not so good. Just 14.0% (and just 10.5% if you factor in short-handed goals) and 41st in the country. Their penalty kill is middle of the pack (30th) at 83.8%, but they've scored an NCAA-best 12 short-handed goals this year, which makes their PK more like an excellent 90.3%. Nick Dodge and Matt Beca each have 4 of those shorties.

7) Bryan Rufenach, a freshman defenseman, was a 7th round pick by the Red Wings in last year's draft. He's apparently a good skater, but fairly raw. He has a 3-2--5 line in 32 games.

8) Phillippe Paquet and Dan Reed played with "Other" at Salisbury Prep. Word of advice, make sure the Michigan dressing room is locked during the game.

9) Clarkson and Michigan haven't played since 1962, when they beat Michigan in the national semifinals. Maybe Red will get a chance for revenge.

10) This is Clarkson's 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but just their second this decade. They lost 1-0 in overtime to U-Mass last year as a number one seed. They've lost in the first round their last four appearances in the tournament.

Tomorrow (or later tonight if I'm bored) I will have my parting thoughts on the regional and my picks for the entire bracket (you could look those up at the Yost Post if you really want to know).
One bit of bad news, apparently Michigan has had a terrible week of practice due to the flu bug working its way through the team. That's not what you want to hear heading into one-and-done hockey.

Lastly, Mark Hartigan is a bitter, bitter man. From the Detroit Free Press:

Wings forward Mark Hartigan will be rooting for his alma mater, St. Cloud State, in the NCAA hockey tournament. He also wouldn't mind seeing top-ranked Michigan upset by Niagara on Friday night. Hartigan was a Hobey Baker finalist for St. Cloud State in 2001-02. Told the Huskies were in the same regional as top-ranked Michigan this year, Hartigan bristled.

"Shocker," he said. "When we were in St. Cloud, we were rated higher than Michigan and were supposed to play Michigan at a neutral site, and it was at the Yost Arena."

The Huskies lost, 4-2, to the Wolverines, and Hartigan apparently hasn't gotten over it.

"Last college team I played against," he said. "I hope they lose, 8-0."

What Hartigan fails to mention is that we played on a neutral rink the year before with them as the higher-ranked team and the result was the same. Also, when your school has never won a tournament game, it's hard to say that playing at Yost made a huge difference. What would have made a difference in that game? You not missing the net on a breakaway. Pucker, pucker, pucker!

Courtesy of MHNet, who has been posting great video clips all week, here's a clip that Mr. Hartigan might enjoy.

Jed owns your team.

Edit: It was also pointed out that for that game at Yost, Michigan was a 4 seed and St. Cloud was a 5. A little revisionist history, Mr. Hartigan?


Anonymous said...

Two things are wrong with your assessment of this clip.

First, the player getting checked is not Hartigan, but Hendricks.

Second, if St. Cloud was the higher seed in this game, why were they wearing their away jerseys?

Packer487 said...

1) Yeah, hence the "Jed owns your team" comment below the clip. I just thought he might enjoy a nice memory from that game. I could ask MHNet to dig up the clip of Hartigan puckering on the breakaway if you'd like.

2) You're correct. Michigan was the 4 seed and St. Cloud the 5. So Hartigan was wrong about that one, and should probably take a pill.
~Packer487 logged in under a different account

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I went back and re-read your post. I will fall on my sword for the pointing out the first faux-pas.

Please don't dig up the clip. I remember it quite vividly. That and the phantom skate in the crease. =(

Great blog by the way. The "10 things" is a nice piece of info.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I'll dig up that clip! In fact, I watched it last night :)

Eric J. Burton said...

Wow, talk about lighting a player up. SCSU is the CCHA verision of Notre Dame. Great during the regular season but OOOOOH for the NCAA tourney. I give them a good chance to beat Clarkson this weekend.

Eric J. Burton said...

Oops I meant WCHA's version of Notre Dame.