Having been an assistant coach at Clarkson from 1993-95, Casey Jones knows what the expectations of the Golden Knights’ fans are like.
So far, Jones is giving the Clarkson fans what they want — some winning hockey.
In his first season as the Knights’ head coach, Jones has the Knights off to a 5-1-2 start. Clarkson opens ECAC Hockey play this weekend when Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Union come to town.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” Jones said. “I’m competitive and I like to win, and it’s an opportunity to be at a place that affords you an opportunity to have a successful program. Not only is it my first head coaching job, but it’s one where I think you can have a lot of success. It’s really exciting.”
Clarkson fired George Roll after the team suffered its third straight losing season, which ended with a sweep by Harvard on the Knights’ home ice in the first round of the ECACH tournament.
Jones, who was associate head coach at Cornell for the last three years, got the job.
“You look at the fact that people want to win and all that,” Jones said. “You want to do it the right way, that’s more important. They want to have a team that works hard, and that’s what they appreciate up here. When you get players to buy into that, and that they’re working hard and competing every night and be successful, then success will fall into place for you.
“The fact that people expect to win is great because it says that they have had the ability to win. I don’t look at it as pressure. I look at it as great motivation for our guys. It helps in the long run, versus being in a situation where they don’t have any expectations. That, I find, is harder, as a coach, to try to set the expectations when no one else around you has them.”
Jones, who played at Cornell from 1986-90, broke into coaching in 1991 with the Big Red. He moved to Clarkson in 1993, and then was at Ohio State from 1995-2008 before returning to Cornell.
There had been some openings in recent years that Jones had been mentioned as a candidate. However, he never once thought that his chance of becoming a head coach would pass him by.
“To be honest, I was picky,” Jones said. “You want to go somewhere where you can be successful, and you don’t want to be somewhere where you work extremely hard and not have the opportunity to win.”
One major improvement for the Knights so far as been their power play. They have scored 12 power-play goals in 44 chances in their eight games. In 36 games last season, Clarkson was 18-for-152 on the power play.
Sophomore forward Ben Sexton and freshman defenseman Sam Labrecque are tied with Union’s Kelly Zajac for most power-play points with seven. Sexton has three goals and four assists, and Labrecque has two goals and five assists.
“You try to put some combinations together,” Jones said. “Sometimes, it clicks. Sometimes, it doesn’t. We’ve been fortunate enough that we’ve had some players come out of the gate offensively. The pucks have been going in for them.”
The NBC Sports Group announced Wednesday that it will begin a weekly package of college hockey games on Versus/NBC Sports Network, and RPI will be part of the coverage.
The first game of the 16-game package will be Boston University at future Hockey East opponent Notre Dame on Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. on Versus. On Jan. 2, Versus changes to the NBC Sports Network.
There will be 11 Friday night games. RPI will be featured in two of them, both from Houston Field House. The first one will be against Dartmouth on Jan, 6. The other is Feb. 3 against Cornell. Both games will start at 7:30 p.m.
There are two other ECACH games on the schedule — Yale at Harvard on Jan. 27, and Dartmouth at Yale on Feb. 17.
NBC Sports Network will televise Hockey East tournament games. It will show a quarterfinal-round Game 1 contest March 9, the semifinals March 16 and the title game March 17.
Last month, NBC Sports Group announced it will televise Notre Dame hone games starting in 2013-14, when the Fighting Irish leave the CCHA for Hockey East.
Goals for Charity
The 12 ECACH teams will be participating in Goals for Good, a campaign to raise money for charities by scoring goals.
The website goalsforgood.org was started by Colgate fifth-year senior defenseman Kevin McNamara. It allows fans to donate money to their team’s favorite charity for every goal they score in league games.
Union’s charity is The V Foundation for Cancer Research. They are honoring Kristen Shinebarger, who recently completed treatments in her fight against Ewing’s Sarcoma.
RPI has teamed up with the Tyler DeMarco Foundation in honor of Ben Marco, an adopted member of the team who is battling medulloblastoma. Marco is in remission.
For more information, go to goalsforgood.org.
ECACH will be honoring players of the month in the men’s and women’s leagues for the first time ever starting this season.
On the men’s side, two Quinnipiac players were honored for their performances in October.
Forward Jeremy Langlois was named player of the month. The junior had eight goals and six assists in eight games.
Freshman forward Matthew Peca earned rookie of the month. Peca had three goals and five assists in eight games.
Goalie of the month went to Clarkson’s Paul Karopwich. The senior posted a 5-1-2 record with a 1.84 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage and two shutouts.
On the women’s side, Clarkson sophomore forward Jamie Lee Rattray won player of the month with five goals, including two game-winners, and 10 assists in 10 games. Her teammate, sophomore Erica Howe, got goalie of the week. She was 4-2-4 with a 2.22 GAA, a .912 save percentage and one shutout.
Cornell freshman forward Jillian Saulnier won rookie of the week. She had seven goals and three assists in seven games.
Here’s a look at how college hockey players from the Capital Region did over the past week.
u Union freshman goalie Colin Stevens (Niskayuna) earned his first victory of his college career last Saturday. He replaced an ill Troy Grosenick and made 25 saves in the Dutchmen’s 5-2 win over American International.
u New Hampshire senior forward Mike Borisenok (Watervliet) scored the game’s first two goals, helping the Wildcats to a 5-2 Hockey East win over Northeastern last Saturday.
u Boston College junior defenseman Patch Alber (Clifton Park) picked up an assist in the Eagles’ 4-2 Hockey East triumph over UMass-Lowell last Friday.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: College Sports