ECAC Hockey play starts this weekend as Clarkson hosts Rensselaer and Union at Cheel Arena.
The Golden Knights went 5-1-2 in the first part of their nonconference schedule and are off to their best start since the 2006-07 season, when Clarkson won the ECAC Hockey Tournament.
One of the reasons for Clarkson's success has been the play of goalie Paul Karpowich, who was named ECAC Hockey's Goaltender of the Month for October after posting a 1.84 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. Karpowich also had two shutouts.
An area some thought was a concern for Clarkson heading into the season was defense, but the Golden Knights, with three freshmen among the usual six defensemen who dress, have played well on defense so far this season. Clarkson is giving up an average of 31.5 shots per game, but many of those have been from outside of high scoring areas.
Sophomore Alex Boak has blocked 16 shots for the Golden Knights.
A pleasant surprise has been freshman defenseman Sam Labrecque, who has blocked 12 shots and has been one of Clarkson's big threats on the power play. He is tied for third on the team in scoring with two goals and six assists.
First-year head coach Casey Jones knows ECAC Hockey well, having worked as an assistant at Cornell the past three seasons as well as being a former Big Red player and graduate assistant and a Clarkson assistant coach from 1993-95.
Clarkson will have senior captain Jake Morley back in the lineup this weekend after missing three games. But the Golden Knights will be missing sophomore assistant captain Ben Sexton who was injured in Saturday's game at Bentley and will not participate this weekend.
For more Clarkson information check Friday's edition of the Watertown Daily Times as we run our first "Clarkson Notes" story of the 2011-12 season. You can also follow me on twitter @CapCareyWDT