Kevin Clauson will make his University of Maine men’s hockey debut Friday when the Bears face Colorado College in the Denver Cup Tournament at Magness Arena in Denver.
Clauson is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior defenseman who transferred from Western Michigan University and sat out the last year due to NCAA rules.
Game time is 6:05 p.m. Denver and Notre Dame will play at 9:05. The consolation and championship games will be at 6:05 and 9:05 p.m. Saturday.
What makes Clauson’s first appearance unique is he will play both forward and defense.
“We’ll use him as a forward in five-on-five situations and we’ll use him on defense when we’re killing penalties,” said Maine coach Shawon defense when we’re killing penalties,” said Maine coach Shawn Walsh. “He’s a big strong guy who skates very well.”
Clauson, who has practiced with the team for the year, is looking forward to putting on the Maine jersey.
“It’s going to be exciting,” said Clauson, a native of Hanover, N.H., who will be the left wing on the fourth line. “I just want to get through the first shift. Things will take care of themselves after that.
“I’m looking to play a solid game defensively and get back into it (game tempo). I’ll play a physical, hard-nosed game.”
He said he feels “comfortable” at wing and that he called upon his teammates to help him learn the position.
“Another thing that has helped is we practice a lot of game situations,” added the 21-year-old Clauson, who was selected in the sixth round of the NHL draft by the New York Islanders in 1998.
He said the year has gone by fast.
“The practices have been a lot of fun. They’re always intense. And I had a chance to practice with guys like [departed All-Americans] Steve Kariya and David Cullen,” said Clauson who added that the coaching staff has varied the drills so the practices have never become monotonous.
Walsh knows there will be an adjustment period for Clauson.
“It’s always tough to adjust from practice to game tempo,” said Walsh.
Clauson had a goal and an assist in 36 games and was a plus-two during the 1997-98 season at Western Michigan. The Broncos went 10-25-3. He transferred to Maine during his sophomore year because he didn’t feel like he was improving at WMU.