St. Lawrence's declared leadership group is
unlike any other in college hockey. Two players serve as
co-captains, which is not unheard of, but is uncommon. The
assistant captain is a goalie. That's what makes this situation
Hockey League Notebook
St. Lawrence senior forward Max Taylor doesn't wear
a letter on his jersey, but he's a valuable veteran
player for the Saints.
Eschewing the traditional captain-assistant-assistant
setup makes St. Lawrence a little strange, but it's also
making them successful.
The Saints' co-captains have seamlessly stepped
into their roles as captains, because they've been auditioning
for the part for the last four years. St. Lawrence coach
Joe Marsh is in a fortunate situation that his best leaders
are two of the team's best players, and also two of the
team's best students.
Kyle Rank, a graduate student, finished second
on the team in scoring last year and earned All-Rookie honors
from the league as a freshman. Drew Bagnall, who owns a
3.75 grade-point average, had two stellar seasons in his
first two years before missing a third of last year with
a hand injury.
"If you could ever pick two guys that
were sort of groomed, it would be them. They've been very
vocal from day one, without usurping the older guys. They've
been sort of captains-in-waiting, if you will, and have
done a great job," Marsh said.
Heaping all of the praise on Rank and Bagnall
would be a little short-sighted, as junior goaltender Justin
Pesony – the assistant captain and owner of a 3.80
grade-point average – has also contributed to the
team's direction this season. So, too, have senior forwards
Max Taylor and Andrzej Sandrzyk.
"Taylor is a guy that has just done a
fabulous job for us, killing penalties and he's brought
it every day," Marsh said.
The Saints send a very young lineup out on
the ice most nights. Four of the six regular defensemen
are sophomores, and in their freshman year not one of them
missed a game as a healthy scratch. They learned on the
job, and are better off for it. Freshmen goalies Alex Petizian
and Kain Tisi have joined Pesony in the goalie rotation,
and eight of the 12 forwards are first- or second-year players.
Led by the aforementioned team leaders, the
young Saints have shown poise and have earned some good
wins in the early going. Despite losing Tuesday night's
game at Clarkson, the Saints are off to a 5-2-0 start in
ECAC Hockey League games and own an 8-5-0 overall mark heading
into a stretch of non-league games over the coming weeks.
Some people expected the Saints to take a
step backward after losing All-American T.J. Trevelyan and
other talented seniors such as Mike Madill, John Zeiler,
and Mike Zbriger.
But led by Rank, Bagnall, and others, this
St. Lawrence team is showing unexpected composure in dealing
with success and failure.
"I think the maturity of those guys on
and off the ice has helped the younger guys a lot in terms
of their demeanor and their presence," Marsh said.
"We're handling adversity better and we're handling
things in stride. The guys play with emotion, and sure there's
some disappointment but it's short-lived. I think we've
been pretty resilient."
After losing a close game at Clarkson, the
Saints have an opportunity to play another very good team
in a hostile environment on Friday when SLU travels to New
Hampshire. The Saints then play against UMass-Lowell on
Sunday afternoon. Injuries to Kevin DeVergilio and Brock
McBride in the loss to Clarkson will give some of the other
forwards an opportunity to crack the lineup.
"We want to get better, regardless of
who we play, and this gives us an opportunity against some
of the best teams. We handled things pretty well in a tough
building tonight and it's another opportunity to see how
we do that and see if we can't get a little better at it,"
The Saints won't be expected to leave the
Whittemore Center with a win, but so far this season they've
proven themselves to be able to defy expectations.
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
Leading the States: Their
names almost certainly won't be featured in articles or
discussion once the United States team takes the ice at
the IIHF World Junior Championships later this month in
Sweden, but Union head coach Nate Leaman and Harvard sophomore
forward Jimmy Fraser will be a big part of the team's success
The ECAC Hockey League representatives will
help lead the team, as Leaman serves as an assistant coach
to head coach and close friend Ron Rolston. Fraser, while
not as highly regarded as a professional prospect as many
of his US teammates, captained many of them when they played
together on the NTDP Under-17 and Under-18 teams.
Leaman said the selection process involved
a 10-day evaluation camp at Lake Placid over the summer,
and additional player evaluations by himself, Rolston, US
assistant coach Phil Housley, Senior Director of Hockey
Operations Jim Johannson, and Ben Smith. Rolston was given
final approval of the roster and had the ultimate say in
selecting the team.
That group met via conference call every two
weeks leading up to the selection of the team, and in comprising
the roster targeted players to play specific roles. Several
players were included for their special teams prowess. In
deciding the final few spots on the team, familiarity with
particular players played a role.
Union will play in the Sheraton/TD Banknorth
Catamount Cup in Vermont and also in a pair of ECAC Hockey
League games against Dartmouth and Harvard while Leaman
is with the national team. Rick Bennett will assume the
head coaching duties in Leaman's absence, and assistant
coach Bill Riga and volunteer assistant coach Dan Tatar
will continue assisting.
Great Weekend Getaway
at Quinnipiac (Fri.)
Rensselaer at Quinnipiac (Sat.)
An abbreviated league schedule yields these matchups
in Hamden as our choice for the place to be this weekend.
Union and Quinnipiac will play for the third time
already this season on Friday. The Bobcats hung eight
goals on the scoreboard in each of the first two meetings.
While You're There: Bet on
the home team. Including this weekend's games, the
Bobcats have just five home contests remaining at
the Northford Ice Pavilion, before moving into the
TD Banknorth Sports Center. Quinnipiac's all-time
record at the NIP is 87-13-9.
fourth line of Chris Myers, Mark Agnew, and
Dan Lefort combined for seven points in the Bobcats'
last two games. Just what ECACHL opponents wanted
to see ... more scoring depth from Quinnipiac.
out the season 6-1-1, Yale has lost three
in a row. Maybe the Yale staff can turn to
last week's visitors from Clarkson for advice. They
went on a four-game slide after starting the year
6-1-1, but have broken that skid with a five-game
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• There's sad news to report out of
Harvard, as longtime Crimson hockey supporter and team travel
coordinator John Toland passed away on Monday after battling
cancer. Toland was an integral part of the hockey support
staff for the last 15 years and rarely missed a Crimson
• Colgate's Jesse Winchester was the
Player of the Week after posting six points in a Raider
sweep of Rensselaer and Union. He has 10 points in the last
Winchester recently discussed getting out
of a slump, which he has certainly done. "I expect
to contribute on the scoresheet, but if I focus on the little
things I know the other things will come with hard work,"
• Brown has won five of its last seven
games after going winless in its first four. The only losses
in the recent stretch were one-goal setbacks against Clarkson
and at Dartmouth. The Bears host travel-partner Yale this
• Clarkson has killed off 31 consecutive
power-play opportunities by their opponents. Not surprisingly,
the Golden Knights have a four-game win streak during that
• Yale senior defenseman Bill LeClerc
is third on the team in scoring, but it shouldn't come as
much of a surprise. He led Yale defensemen with 16 points
last season and his eight goals fell two shy of the school
record of 10 goals by a defenseman.
• Clarkson's Sean Weller scored the
first goal of the game and also into an empty-net near the
end of the third period as the Golden Knights beat St. Lawrence
3-1 on Tuesday. The win thrust Clarkson into a second-place
tie in the ECACHL standings.
"That's what you come to school for,
and that's why you play college hockey," Weller said.
"In a rivalry like this, if you can't get up for a
game like this you shouldn't be playing. It's exciting."
• St. Lawrence's Marsh on the emotional
level of the game: "It was a good game. It was a good
effort by both teams. There was good focus, no chippiness.
It was a clean, hard game and I think the emotion of both
teams was well-controlled."
• Five of Princeton's six goals in two
games last weekend against Alabama-Huntsville were power-play
goals for the Tigers. Princeton ranks 15th nationally and
second among ECACHL teams in power-play percentage.
• Dartmouth has just one loss in its
last six games. In the five games they've won or tied, Dartmouth
has scored the first goal of the game.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report