May 2, 2005
World Championship Flashback: Erik Cole

Erik Cole

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With more than two dozen former collegians slated to participate in the 2005 IIHF World Championship, our former college hockey heroes will be trying to make memories on one of the sport's biggest stages. With that in mind, Inside College Hockey takes this opportunity to reflect on some of those players' memorable college moments.

There are few college hockey games that can match up to a Clarkson-St. Lawrence battle for a league championship in Lake Placid. That’s what ECAC fans saw in 1999 and when Clarkson standout Erik Cole electrified the 1980 Arena with a second-period goal that tied the score 2-2. Cole used an inside-out move on St. Lawrence defenseman Ray DiLauro – the same move that has baffled many NHL blueliners since then – and roofed a shot over the left shoulder of Eric Heffler. Clarkson went on to win the game 3-2 and capture the 1999 ECAC regular season and playoff championships.

Many people point to Cole's game-tying goal in the 1999 ECAC Championships against St. Lawrence as his signature moment, and it likely was. But there are other things, one on the ice and one off of it, that really come to my mind when recalling Erik Cole’s Clarkson career.

On the ice, I remember the assist he got on David Evans' first goal in Clarkson's loss to Maine in the 1999 NCAA Tournament. Cole burst down the right wing, stopped behind the net, and fed Evans on the short side. Evans had a wide open net because most of the Worcester Centrum, including Alfie Michaud, thought he was going to go for a wrap. Michaud was still along the left goal post when Evans put it in. Even Shawn Walsh, the late Maine coach, was impressed with that burst of speed.

An off-the-ice memory I have is during the summer before that championship season. Cole was coming off an impressive freshman year, and in mid-June I saw him kind of limping to a modified fastpitch softball tournament. His team was playing after mine on the same field early on a Saturday. I asked if he was hurt by the way he was walking. He replied, "No, but the circuit training Rolly (assistant coach Ron Rolston) has us doing is killing me!"

At that moment, I realized he was one of those kinds of players. It was the dead of summer and he did his training before the tournament, and he turned in his time to get ready. Not that it isn't something others do, because they do, but sometimes guys with his talent try to skate by on that talent alone. That showed me he was willing to take that extra step to get to the next level, and I knew that he was going to have a big year.

— Bob Ahlfeld

Bob Ahlfeld has been the play-by-play announcer for Clarkson Hockey for the last nine seasons, and is Sports Director at WGIX – Cool 95.3 FM in Ogdensburg, N.Y.

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