Clarkson is rebuilding after some lean years
and a controversial firing
coach George Roll enters his second season at the helm of the
a superb run in the ECAC playoffs last season. The Golden Knights
are optimistic their long playoff run can lead to even more victories
The result could
be Clarkson’s return to national prominence.
are college hockey’s all-time winningest team. They’re
1,204-691-86 for a .652 winning percentage in 82 seasons, including
66 winning records.
has fallen on hard times of late. The Knights were just 18-18-5
last season and ninth in the ECAC before advancing to the championship
game of the league playoffs. The most recent of Clarkson’s
18 NCAA appearances came back in 1999.
College Hockey's 2004-05 season preview includes an in-depth
look at the process of building programs at different stages
in their development:
• From scratch: Robert Morris
• Rebuilding: Bowling Green
• Making the Leap: UMass Lowell
a great playoff run,” said Clarkson coach George Roll, who
is starting his second season. “A lot of the one-goal games
in February went our way and we made a noticeable turn in our record.
We’re excited about the direction of the program.”
swept eighth-seeded Union in the first round of the playoff last
season and then upset defending ECAC champion Cornell in Ithaca,
N.Y., in the quarterfinals. Cornell won Game 1 by a 5-1 score, but
Clarkson answered with 5-4 and 5-1 wins to capture the series. Clarkson
scored a 2-1 win over
regular-season champion Colgate in the semifinal, but lost a 4-2
decision to Harvard in the championship game.
we can’t forget is that we were a ninth-place team last year,”
Roll said. “We still have a lot of work to do, even though
our run in the playoffs takes away some of the disappointment of
long-term goal under Roll is to regain its status as one of the
top programs in college hockey. And
Roll believes the Knights aren’t far away.
had success before and there’s no reason we can’t do
it again,” Roll said. “With our tradition, our location,
our academics ... we can compete for the ECAC championship and a
berth in the NCAA playoffs.”
Roll is familiar
with Clarkson’s tradition as he helped add to it as an assistant
spent eight years as Clarkson’s No. 1 assistant under former
head coach Mark Morris, and the Knights went 186-82-26 in that time
(1988-96). Clarkson won ECAC regular-season conference titles in
1991 and 1995 and ECAC playoff championships in 1991 and 1993. Clarkson
also advanced to the NCAA playoffs six times in those eight seasons,
reaching the Frozen Four in 1991.
is very attractive to players and our program isn’t in as
bad of shape as some people think,” Roll said. “It’s
a lot easier to rebuild a program that’s had success at the
national level. It’s much tougher to rebuild if you don’t
have a winning tradition.”
But the rebuilding
hasn’t been easy. Roll was named Clarkson’s head coach
in late March 2003. He took over after Morris had been fired on
Nov. 15, 2002 for an alleged physical confrontation with a player
had been Clarkson’s coach for 15 years, was fired after a
10-day investigation by the university. He later sued Clarkson for
breach of contract and defamation, and the two sides eventually
reached a settlement.
involving Morris left the Clarkson program and its supporters divided.
dwell on it; all we concentrated on was moving forward, no matter
what side you were on,” Roll said. “We just concentrated
on it being a fresh start for everyone and getting the program back
to where it should be.
have been excited about what we’re doing and they’ve
The next step
for Roll and assistant coaches Jean-Francois Houle, who played at
Clarkson, and Greg Drechsel was to instill discipline and a consistent
work ethic on and off the ice.
of your program is discipline, hard work and commitment,”
said Roll, a hard-working forward on Bowling Green’s NCAA
championship team in 1984. “We asked our players for a commitment
on the ice, off the ice, in the classroom, in the community.
were going to be accountable for their actions.”
One of the key
moments last season for Roll came just prior to Clarkson’s
ECAC playoff opener against Cornell. He suspended two of the team’s
captains, Rob McFeeters and Tristan Lush, for the first game of
the series. The two returned for the final two games of the series.
no gray areas with our rules,” Roll said. “They understood
they broke a rule and they had to be disciplined. Everyone handled
it well and it became a positive for us, and we ended up the great
going to have rules and have guys accountable, you can’t ignore
any situations when they come up,” Roll said.
returning to Clarkson, George Roll enjoyed success in seven
years as the head coach at Oswego State.
Roll’s second head coaching stint, having spent seven years
as Oswego State's head coach after his stint as a Clarkson assistant.
The Lakers were 119-74-16 overall under Roll with two berths in
the NCAA Division III playoffs, two regular-season titles in the
State University of New York Athletic Conference and one conference
playoff title. During
the 2002-03 season, the Lakers were ranked as high as third nationally
and advanced to the NCAA Division III Frozen Four.
second year back in Potsdam, Roll and the Knights are optimistic
about the upcoming season. They return 17 lettermen – nine
forwards, six defensemen and two goalies – and bring in a
heralded rookie class that was rated ninth in the nation in the
INCH Recruiting Rankings.
Faulkner, Chris Blight and Jay Latuilippe – the team’s
top three scorers last season – return after combining for
50 goals and 63 assists last season. Also back is goalie Dustin
Traylen, who had a 2.57 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.
guardedly optimistic,” Roll said. “We have a good group
of players returning and we have a good incoming freshmen class
... they’re good players and good citizens, and we have good
leaders ... those things can make a difference."
were competitive last season with 29 of their 41 games decided by
two or fewer goals. They were 10-14-5 in those games, including
an 8-9 record in one-goal games.
to make a big jump in the league this year and finish in the top
four in the league,” Roll said. “We were competitive
last year and if we can improve our record in those close games,
we can make that jump and get the program back to where it should
should be up front and our goaltending should be solid,” Roll
said. “Our defense is still a big young, but they do have
a year of experience and should be a lot more seasoned.”
has been covering college hockey for 18 years for the Bowling Green
this to a friend
Us | Advertiser
Info | Site Map | Privacy
© 2002-04 Inside College Hockey, Inc., All Rights Reserved