The 2003-2004 season saw the Golden Knights finish in the middle of the pack during the regular season but make a surprising sprint through the ECAC tournament only to fall to Harvard in the last minute of the ECAC championship.
Hopes were high, then, in Potsdam at the start of the 2004-2005 season, a season coach George Roll acknowledged was “certainly disappointing.”
Clarkson began the season with three straight losses, and then suffered through a seven game winless streak from mid-November to mid-December. That has underscored, in Roll’s mind, the importance of gaining momentum early on.
“For our team, right now, it’s important to get off to a good start,” he said. “[We need] to gain some confidence and start believing in each other.
“We’re going to be awfully young this year, but that’s not to say we can’t have success. We feel pretty strongly that we can get the program turned around.”
Roll has indicated that he wants to play a more up-tempo style this season, and have his team quickly transition out of the defensive end on breaks. Despite the loss of leading scorer Jay Latulippe, Roll thinks incoming freshman forwards Shea Guthrie and Chris D’Alvise will help assume some of the departed offense.
He also expects significant improvement from sophomore winger Shawn Weller; a year ago Weller was an incoming freshman who was widely thought to have a knack for the net. But in his first year in the league, he struggled to find his rhythm on offense.
After a full season during which he collected only three goals and 11 assists, some have already forgotten why Weller was so highly thought of before arriving in Potsdam.
Roll isn’t among them, however, and cited Weller as someone he looks to see make an impact for the Golden Knights this season.
“Shawn Weller … he didn’t have a disappointing year,” Roll said. “He did a lot of the intangibles and things.
“But he can give us a lot more offensively. If he gets off to a good start, gains some confidence, he can put up some pretty good numbers.”