Alumni Magazine Summer 2014 - page 19-20

Clarkson
Magazine
Summer 2014
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Clarkson
Magazine
Summer 2014
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Clarkson
Magazine
Fall
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18
THE KEY TO SUCCESS? A WORKING MARRIAGE
For many married couples, the thought of working side by side with their
spouse at the office is frightening enough to send them scurrying to a
computer to google “help wanted.”
But for six seasons, the last of which ended with a national title in
March, Matt and Shannon Desrosiers not only served as co-head coaches
of Clarkson’s women’s hockey program — they managed to stay happily
married while doing it.
“Her strengths brought up some of my weaknesses, and some of my
strengths brought up her weaknesses,” Matt says in his understated way.
They met as college hockey players at St. Lawrence University, where
they lived in the same building Matt’s senior year. She was a sophomore.
When she visited him a few years later in Colorado, where he was playing
semi-pro hockey, he proposed. She said yes.
Both made their way to Clarkson, where they served as assistant
coaches. The head job opened up in 2008.
“They complement each other so well, we thought together they could
make a great team,” says Athletic Director Steve Yianoukos, who made the
historic hire.
To say the least. In six seasons the Desrosiers, who’ve been married
for eight, notched 134 victories and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
They divided some parts of the job — he concentrated on game planning
while she handled most of the administrative tasks — while both working
on things like recruiting.
In April, Shannon announced she would step down to focus on their
growing family. The couple have a two-year-old daughter, Brynlee, and a
newborn son.
The comedienne Rita Rudner once said of marriage: “I love being
married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy
for the rest of your life.”
She obviously never met the Desrosiers.
breakthrough win. Last season’s 5-3
loss to Boston University in the NCAA
quarterfinals was particularly painful.
“To get that far and come up short
was definitely hard,” says senior Jamie Lee
Rattray, who won this year’s coveted Patty
Kazmaier Award as college hockey’s top
female player. “It didn’t sink in for about
a week, then we got back to work and
focused on next year. I think that game
helped our senior class. Even though we
lost, we got the experience.”
A “SPECIAL SEASON”
When the players assembled early last
fall to begin the 2013-14 season, they
were confident, but cognizant of the fact
that only hard work would enable them
to achieve their goals. They lost just two
players from the year before.
“I knew we had a lot of drive,” says
senior captain Carly Mercer. “Right from
September, I thought this was going to be
a special season.”
The Golden Knights began the year
with five straight wins, including two
against rival St. Lawrence. But in October,
it stumbled, losing once and skating to a
draw in two games versus Mercyhurst.
“Sometimes you go through a slump
when you have a tough time scoring,” Matt
Desrosiers says. “We weren’t playing bad
hockey, we just weren’t getting the results.
It was a little frustrating for our players,
but they understood that if we just stuck
with the process things would eventually
come back and we’d start rolling. And
that’s exactly what happened.”
Clarkson played well down the
stretch, winning seven straight before
falling to Cornell in the ECAC Hockey
championship. Still, it secured an NCAA
Tournament berth, and the players realized
the ultimate prize remained within reach.
A quarterfinal win over Boston
College earned the Golden Knights a ticket
to the Frozen Four, where it had a date
with its old nemesis, Mercyhurst.
“We knew they hadn’t seen our best, and
we were looking to prove that,” Mercer says.
“The most important thing for us that night
was to come out strong.”
Clarkson delivered a knockout punch, a
5-1 victory that put it one win from the title.
All that stood in its way was Minnesota, which came in
unbeaten in 26 straight games. Yet, the night before the
final game Clarkson’s players were loose. After dinner
at Outback Steakhouse, they hung out at the hotel
watching TV and visiting with their families.
“There’s obviously a lot of hype around
Minnesota, but we didn’t even look at what they’d
done,” says sophomore Cayley Mercer, who followed
older sister Carly to Clarkson. “It wasn’t about that
for us. We didn’t want them to think that we were
intimidated. We had a confidence about us all season.
We knew we were just as good as every other team.”
Even when the Golden Gophers took a 1-0 lead,
Clarkson didn’t waver. The game was a back-and-
forth affair throughout, with the Golden Knights
taking leads of 3-1, 5-3, and ultimately, 5-4.
“I remember that last eight or nine minutes being
the longest stretch in my hockey career,” Rattray says.
When the final horn sounded and Clarkson’s
players threw their sticks and gloves in the air and
themselves into each other’s arms, Golden Knights
fans saluted not only this team, but the ones that
came before it as well.
“You got to remember, we’ve never won a
national championship ever, in any sport,” Yianoukos
says. “The fans were ecstatic, just jubilant.”
Among them that fateful day at TD Bank Sports
Center in Hamden, Connecticut, home rink of
Quinnipiac University, was Rick Seeley.
“To see everyone working together was inspiring,”
he says. “It made me feel good, because that’s what
we tried to establish in the beginning. There was no
individual play. It was a total team effort.”
66
TOTAL POINTS
Jamie Lee Rattray
10
POWER PLAY GOALS
Jamie Lee Rattray
50
MOST POINTS
BY A DEFENSEMAN
Erin Ambrose
14
MOST GOALS
BY A DEFENSEMAN
Erin Ambrose
1.10
LOWEST GOALS
AGAINST AVERAGE
Erica Howe
14
MOST SHUTOUTS
Erica Howe
1.12
G/GM
FEWEST GOALS
PER GAME
Co-head coaches Shannon and Matt Desrosiers
“I remember
that last
eight or nine
minutes being
the longest
stretch in
my hockey
career.”
— Jamie Rattray ’14
NATION-LEADING STATS
Fans gathered as the team boarded the bus for the Frozen Four.
John Hassett Photography
John Hassett Photography
Photo by Ting-Li Wang
REVISIT CLARKSON’S FIRST-EVER
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE
News stories, videos, photos and more!
Clarkson's second goal of the game scored by Shelby Nesbitpageds left in the first
period gave Clarkson a 2-1 lead.
Photo by Christopher Lenney
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