28, 2008 Dodge's
Late Decision Boosts Clarkson
Telling Princeton and Clarkson followers four
years ago that their teams would face each other Friday
night, essentially playing for the ECAC Hockey regular season
championship, would have likely raised eyebrows and earned
the predictor a trip to the psychiatric ward.
Continuing on to tell them that Nick Dodge
would be an important player in the game would have been
less shocking, but they probably would have figured that
Dodge would be wearing the orange and black of the Tigers,
not the green and gold of the Golden Knights.
Nick Dodge and a strong senior class lead Clarkson
into this weekend with a chance to win the regular
season ECAC Hockey title for the first time since
As the 2003-04 season came to its end, Princeton
was mired in a five-win season and finished in last place.
Head coach Len Quesnelle had been pursuing Dodge, a talented
all-around center playing for the Oakville Blades who was
valedictorian of his high school and scored impressively
on the SAT.
Quesnelle saw in Dodge some of the traits
that made former Princeton centers Jeff Halpern and Syl
Apps so successful, and Dodge made a verbal commitment to
"He was a great kid that had a lot of
character and came from a great family," Quesnelle
said of his recruitment of Dodge. "As a centerman he
is a very dynamic player and you can see that in the ECAC
over the last three-plus years, he's scored some big goals.
Good centers are hard to find, and he is one, and he has
a huge heart."
Quesnelle was relieved of his coaching duties
at Princeton in early March, and Dodge was in limbo as he
hadn't been accepted at Princeton and was anxious to begin
college and a collegiate hockey career. A mutual friend
of Dodge's family and Clarkson associate head coach Greg
Drechsel alerted both parties to the situation, and Dodge
– who had been recruited by Clarkson prior to his
Princeton verbal, along with Yale and Rensselaer –
was announced as part of the Clarkson class of 2008 in April
of 2004. It wasn't until May of 2004 that Guy Gadowsky was
named as Princeton's next head coach.
All of the pertinent parties gather in Potsdam,
N.Y. on Friday when the Tigers and Golden Knights take the
ice at Cheel Arena, and both programs have come a long way
in the last four years. Princeton has improved its record
every single year under Guy Gadowsky and Clarkson is back
on the verge of being a national contender and perennial
ECAC Hockey power after a pair of ninth-place finishes in
the regular season earlier this decade.
Dodge has gone on to score more than 100 points
in his career and has earned All-America and All-ECAC Hockey
recognition. He is a reliable player with a well-rounded
game and is great on face offs, and many of his opponents
Dodge is part of an outstanding senior class
that also includes Steve Zalewski, David Leggio, Grant Clitsome,
Mike Arciero, and David Cayer. Their on-ice achievements
include a 74-59-15 overall record in the last four years,
a return to the NCAA Tournament, and last year's ECAC Hockey
Championship. The group is playing its final regular season
home weekend at Cheel, and will be honored prior to Saturday's
game against Quinnipiac.
"They have all made a huge impact on
our program," Clarkson coach George Roll said of this
senior class. "They've been a big part of our turnaround.
They are good individuals and strong students, and have
been role models for our team on the ice and in the classroom.
They have definitely earned the respect of our campus and
Friday night, the Golden Knights get a chance
to play an important game at home in front of a friendly
crowd with an opportunity to clinch the regular-season title.
As a trophy is at stake, they're treating the game with
import that it deserves.
"I think for both teams, and you can
say what you want that it doesn't mean anything, with the
struggles we've both had, the chance to win a Cleary Cup
is an important positive for both of our programs,"
Roll said. "When you set your goals at the beginning
of the season, one of them is to win the regular season."
That task for Clarkson won't be easy, but
they'll be thankful that Nick Dodge is on their side.
SEEN AND HEARD IN ECAC HOCKEY
The Princeton Perspective:
If the last statement from Clarkson coach George Roll is
still fresh in your mind, turn your eyes away from the computer
screen for a second and get ready for a different take on
When asked if his team was excited about its
opportunity to compete in a big game against a nationally-ranked
team and position itself for its first ever ECAC Hockey
regular-season title, Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky
downplayed the significance of the game. "We've talked
about playing a very good Clarkson team on Friday night,
not about league titles," he said. "But they're
smart kids, they know what's at stake."
It's this one-game-at-a-time approach that
has helped Princeton get to this point, which is a guaranteed
first- or second-place finish in the league and a first-round
playoff bye, plus a home-ice series at Baker Rink in the
Since the very start of the season, Princeton
has been led in scoring by the high-scoring trio of Lee
Jubinville, Cam MacIntyre, and Brett Wilson. That group
played on a line for most of the first half of the year,
and was reunited last weekend in a pair of wins over Colgate
Gadowsky said that even his line combinations
could change from game-to-game, an echo of the method that
has been employed on Old Nassau. "We're just trying
to improve every game," he said. "We were able
to do that (reunite Jubinville-MacIntyre-Wilson) because
the other lines have been successful and our scoring has
Breaking Ties: In case you're
interested, the tiebreaker procedures for the league standings
are as follows:
Comparison of game results
between tied teams (head to head).
Comparison of results of
games against the top four teams.
Comparison of results of
games against the top eight teams.
Goal differential in head-to-head
Goal differential in games
against the top four teams.
Goal differential in games
against the top eight teams.
Great Weekend Getaway
Dartmouth at Cornell (Fri.)
Harvard at Cornell (Sat.)
Big Red fans love to chant "Four Point Weekend"
on Saturday nights as much as they love to chant "Harvard
Sucks" on, basically, every single day of the
year. Getting two wins this weekend guarantees Cornell
a top-four finish, and it'll mean victory over hated
Harvard. Volleying the aforementioned cheers back-and-forth
at Lynah on Saturday would cap a special weekend above
While You're There: Downtown Ithaca
features the Ithaca
Ale House with several tasty drafts and bottles
certain to appease anyone's taste.
to free online Web streaming of college hockey games,
and also to SportsNet New York for picking up local
productions of ECAC Hockey games and broadcasting
them on a number of weekend nights this season. It's
allowed those college hockey junkies in other parts
of the nation to catch ECAC Hockey games on their
satellite sports packs.
that success in big games doesn't just happen. Experience
is gained, lessons are learned, and you often have
to lose a few of them to prepare yourself for the
next time they come around. For Princeton to shrug
its shoulders at its opportunity this weekend is disrespectful
to the league's championship. At the very least, it's
a chance to prepare for future one-game scenarios
that they might have the opportunity to play in next
month, with a possible NCAA berth at stake.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• While Clarkson and Princeton have
guaranteed themselves of finishing first or second in the
league, six teams still have the potential to finish in
third or fourth and get next weekend off to prepare for
a home series in two weeks. Harvard is in the best shape,
with 24 points to currently sit alone in third place. Earning
three points on its road trip to Colgate and Cornell Cornell
and Union are tied for fourth, with 23 points each. Quinnipiac
is sixth with 22 points and Colgate and Yale are tied for
seventh with 20.
• Harvard goalie Kyle Richter was credited
with a goal in last Friday's game against Yale. It was the
first goal ever recorded by a Crimson goalie. The goal was
credited to Richter after he made a save during a delayed
penalty call against his team. Yale goalie Alec Richards
vacated his net, and a Yale player attempted a centering
pass from behind the Harvard net, that was off the mark
and went all the way down the ice into the empty net. As
the last player to touch the puck, Richter was credited
with the goal.
• Colgate's Peter Bogdanich scored the
game-winner in overtime of the Raiders' 4-3 win at Quinnipiac
on Sunday. It was Bogdanich's 23rd birthday.
• That loss was Quinnipiac's second
consecutive overtime defeat on the weekend, as the Bobcats
lost 3-2 to Cornell on Michael Kennedy's OT winner. The
Big Red are 2-0-3 in five overtime games this year. Quinnipiac,
on the other hand, is 0-2-4 in games requiring more than
• Union has six ties on the season and
Corey Milan has been the goaltender of record in all six
of them. The Dutchmen were 9-2-6 on home ice this year.
• Brown's Jeff Prough has played in
119 consecutive games, which is a program record.
• Dartmouth seniors Nick Johnson, J.T.
Wyman and Jon Grecu were honored in a pre-game ceremony
on Saturday and then combined nine points in a 7-2 win over
• Clarkson's Steve Zalewski now has
100 career points after scoring a power-play goal on Friday.
• Rensselaer junior Seth Klerer played
in his 100th game last weekend.
• Congratulations to all of the seniors
who were honored in home games last weekend or will be honored
this weekend. Four (sometimes more) years of dedication
and commitment to being on a team and striving for success
on the ice and in the classroom is worthy of praise.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.