This Week in D-I: Oct. 23, 2008

No cold stares across the corn flakes. No deadly silences on the commute home. None of the trap doors that married couples who work together can fall through. And they are there (you could have asked Ricky and Lucy).

None of that has befallen the husband and wife coaching tandem of Matt and Shannon Desrochers.

The two were named co-coaches by Clarkson University during the off-season when former bench boss Rick Seeley moved Southward to Quinnipiac. According to Matt, the novel arrangement is operating nicely inside the rink, and at home.

“I think it’s working,” he said. “Shannon still runs the forwards just like she did last year. The difference is that I’m kind of wandering between the forwards and the D. Our new assistant [Matt Kelly] is handling the D where I did that last year. I think for the most part, it’s running pretty smoothly.”

Perhaps the trickiest part of such a set up is leaving the workplace problems at the office. But even there, Matt said that he and Shannon have struck an amiable balance.

“Of course we bring it home with us,” he said. “We do a lot of our recruiting from home. We pretty much see everything the same way. We’re pretty good with that stuff.”

As for the Golden Knights, they set out on a demanding early season schedule with six straight tilts against foes that are ranked in the top-10 nationally. That includes this weekend’s two-fer at home with No. 6 Mercyhurst. Unfortunately for the Green & Gold, the Knights have just one tie (against Boston College) to show for their effort.

Last weekend produced a pair of gut-wrenching one-goal losses at Boston Univesity and New Hampshire.

Desrochers said that the Knights can still draw positives out of the setbacks.

“I think we definitely can,” he said. “Using these as learning tools … we had a pretty tough schedule at the beginning of the year. We had two against BC, then come in and play against BU and UNH on the road. Then we come back against Mercyhurst next weekend. We’ve got some top-10 teams in there right off the bat with a lot of young kids in the lineup. I think we’ve played those teams strong. I think a couple of them could have gone either way. We’re definitely going to take the positives. There are definitely a lot of things we can work on, and fix by next week. Hopefully we can get some wins.”

At the heart of Clarkson’s early season struggles is its difficulty in producing goals.

Only two Knights — senior Marie-Jo Gaudet and freshman Juana Baribeau — have scored twice thus far.

But Gaudet said that the team is on the rise, even as the sixth-year program, which produced winning marks the past three seasons, continues to progress.

“I think every year we go up,” said Gaudet, Clarkson’s single-season goal-scoring leader (with 24 last year). “We’ve always been a team that works hard. The difference is that every year, we play with more talent. If we keep working hard, and use our talent at the same time, I think that will be really good for us. I think it’s a great program. I’m really proud to be a part of it.”

Empty Netters

No. 4 New Hampshire sniper Sam Faber was awarded a penalty shot in Sunday’s game with Clarkson for the second time in her career, and is now two-for-two in such situations.

That despite her admitted misgivings about those mano-a-mano showdowns.

“I was hoping to get around [the defender],” she said, “without her tripping me. I don’t like the nerves of a penalty shot.”

Less than two weeks before, Faber took the first-ever shootout attempt in a WHEA contest, and failed to beat Boston College goalie Molly Schaus. The difference between the two tries was being able to avoid psyching herself out.

“I was more calm this time,” said Faber. “During the shootout, I knew what I was going to do. This time, I tried to read more what the goalie was doing. She came out a little far, so I wasn’t going to shoot [right away]. I just tried to deke it through her.

“I tried not to (overthink it) this time. And it worked.”

Northeastern, under new coach Dave Flint, is off to a its best start in seven seasons (4-0-2, 2-0-0 HEA). The Huskies have been backboned by outstanding work by its goalie tandem of sophomore Leah Sulyma and freshman Florence Schelling (a five-year veteran of the Swiss National Team). Both have crafted microscopic .065 GAA’s, and they rank No. 1 and 2 nationally in save percentage, at .982 (Schelling) and .976 (Sulyma). Both netminders hail from exotic parts of the globe, as Schelling is a native of Oberengstringen, Switzerland, while Sulyma is the pride of Inuvik in the Northwest Territories … The highlight of the weekend should be the Friday/Sunday visit by No. 2 Minnesota to top-ranked Wisconsin … Meanwhile, No. 3-ranked Harvard has yet to play a game, and won’t until they take on Quinnipiac on Halloween … Meanwhile, women’s hockey newbie Syracuse recorded its first win in school history on Oct. 18, when they whitewashed Quinnipiac, 2-0. A pair of UNH transfers played key roles in the historic event, with goalie Lucy Schoedel stopping 19 shots for the shutout, and Stefanie Marty notching the second goal.