No block to Tigers' preparation for Clarkson series

October 24, 2013 Updated: October 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm
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University of British Columbia's Scott Wasden, left, and CC's Archie Skalbeck fight for the puck in the first period of CC's 3-1 win Sunday, October 7, 2012 at the World Arena. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

There is no homework due, so it is time to worry about only one thing: hockey.

"Block (One) is over and we have five days to just focus on hockey without worrying about classes," senior center Archie Skalbeck said. "It will be nice to just do that."

The Colorado College Tigers are looking forward to their first road series of the season when they take on ECAC member Clarkson on Friday and Saturday at Cheel Arena (3,000 capacity) in Potsdam, N.Y.

The Golden Knights (4-1-1) look better than their last-place preseason ranking in the 12-team league.

Clarkson has a balanced offense with six points each from sophomore Paul Geiger (five assists) and senior captain Ben Sexton (five assists) and four players with two goals apiece. Sophomore goalie Greg Lewis (2-1, 2.00 goals against, .924 saves percentage) and freshman Steve Perry (2-0-1, 1.62 goals, .937 saves) are splitting starts so far.

"It's a tough place to play and they have a lot of confidence right now," Tigers coach Scott Owens said.

Because it is a nonconference trip, CC (1-1) was able to send all 25 healthy players to upstate New York. Only injured defensemen Michael King and Gustav Olofsson and goalie Tyler Marble stayed behind. Marble and Olofsson have upper-body injuries while King, who skated without restriction in practice Monday and Tuesday, continues to recover from offseason hip surgery.

"It's a good time to get out on the road," Owens said. "We want this to be a team-bonding experience so we brought everyone we could."

"The coaches room an upperclassmen with a younger player so you get to know each other," senior goalie Josh Thorimbert said. "You learn a lot about a guy in 4-5 days."

CC spent Wednesday afternoon and evening traveling to Syracuse, N.Y., and drove up to Potsdam on Thursday. Forwards Christian Heil and Peter Maric both took part in defensemen drills this week in case one of the six available blue-liners is not able to play.

A road series also promises to be a learning experience. Clarkson plays a physical style that suits its NHL-sized ice sheet. The Tigers will get another taste of that when it resumes National Collegiate Hockey Conference play next weekend at Western Michigan.

"The younger guys will learn what it takes to win on the road," Thorimbert said. "This weekend is a good steppingstone."

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