POTSDAM Heading into his junior season Clarkson University forward Jarrett Burton had scored five career goals.
As Clarkson heads into its home opener in ECAC Hockey play, Burton leads the Golden Knights with five goals.
The native of Echo Bay, Ontario, spent the offseason working on his game in hopes of developing into more of a productive player for the Golden Knights.
He is stronger, Clarkson coach Casey Jones said of Burton. He has settled into a good role here. He plays in a lot of situations. He has a good hockey sense. He committed himself in the offseason to off-ice conditioning. Hes in better shape and hes stronger. He gets in the battle areas now. Its been a good transition for him.
Burton has scored his five goals on 18 shots for a team-best 27.8 shooting percentage.
Hes got a good stick, Jones said. His goals have been good goals. It shows that they are not flukes by any stretch of the imagination. Hes had some good plays too. Hes playing well.
Burtons last stop before Clarkson was with the Kingston (Ontario) Voyageurs, for whom he ranked second on the team with 20 goals and 46 assists, and was an assistant captain on a team that won the 2009 Ontario Junior Hockey League title.
I wanted to try to continue to be a strong defensive forward, Burton said of his goals for this season. I was also looking to provide some offense for the team. We lost some good players from last year. Im getting some good chances and (linemates Will Frederick and Todd Christian) are doing all the little things right, which provides good chances. (Frederick) is a very smart player. He knows where he has to be on the ice to make a good play. He provides a lot of room for Todd and myself.
Another Golden Knight who spent a lot of time in the offseason preparing was senior Adam Pawlick, a Utica native.
Pawlick suffered a foot injury in Clarksons exhibition game against Carleton last month and did not return to the lineup until last weekends games against Yale and Brown.
He scored one goal and assisted on another, hoping to start a productive final season.
I felt like I came in, in really good shape, and was excited for my senior year, Pawlick said. To get an injury like that was a bummer. I was itching to get back in the lineup. I was glad to be able to make it back in time for the opening of ECAC (Hockey) play.
Pawlick did not waste time while he was injured. He was put on an off-ice training program by strength coach Jaime Rodriguez, and he attended every practice and studied closely so he would not fall behind with the teams systems.
Its pretty frustrating sitting there and watching, but its also important to make sure Im digesting all the systems that are going in, Pawlick said. I was always watching video, so when I could hope back in the lineup I wasnt missing anything. It builds your confidence when you are able to step in the lineup like that and produce some points.
ENDING A SLUMP
Not only was Clarksons 1-0 win at Yale last Friday the first win of the season for the Golden Knights, it also was the first time any player on the team had ever won a game at Yales Ingalls Rink.
Weve had a tough go in that building the last three years at least, Pawlick said. It was definitely exciting. That building is always so loud. Not just to win, but to shut them out, to not hear that (goal) horn go off in that building was something special.
Said Burton, It was a pretty good feeling to get that win for sure. We knew coming in they were a good offensive team. We knew we had to play a great defensive game.
MORE THAN 90 PERCENT
The last three games Clarkson goalie Greg Lewis has had a save percentage of 90 percent or higher. The spurt has improved his season save percentage to .910, not far behind Paul Karpowichs .921 of last season.
Lewis also had his first career shutout, against Yale.
In the course of a game hes calm, which is unusual for a freshman, Jones said. Hes got that personality. He is competing hard. He has made some good saves at key times for us to give us an opportunity. We know there will be bumps and peaks and valleys. Right now he seems to have a real calmness to him in the net, that makes us comfortable around him.
There will be a familiar face on the Princeton bench Saturday night at Cheel Arena. Brownville native and former Golden Knight Tim Marks returns as a volunteer assistant coach with Princeton.
Thats going to be interesting, said Pawlick, who was a freshman during Marks senior year (2009-10). I saw him a couple summers ago, but I havent really talked to him in the last year or so. It will be neat to see him across the ice.
Sportswriter Cap Carey covers Clarkson University hockey for the Times. He can be reached at email@example.com