Monday, September 08, 2014

UNH Freshman Goalie Adam Clark

Adam Clark: UNH Freshman Goalie

Preparation of this profile on Adam Clark began in early August. At the time, the 6'5" goalie from Sherwood Park, Alberta was expected to come to UNH and serve as the backup to senior netminder Casey DeSmith. DeSmith had been the #1 goalie for the Wildcats since early December of his freshman year when he took over for then senior Matt DiGirolamo. DeSmith was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team and in his junior year, he was named a Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star.

Events which reportedly occurred early Sunday morning, August 31st, have jeopordized Casey DeSmith's hockey future at UNH. DeSmith was arrested by Durham Police and charged with domestic assault and resisting arrest. The University subsequently suspended DeSmith from the UNH hockey team pending further investigation.

With Casey DeSmith's immediate playing future in doubt, speculation and discussion over who will become the starting UNH goalie when the 2014-15 regular season begins on October 11th have heated up. As of today, there are two goalies on the UNH active roster. In addition to Adam Clark, there is junior netminder Jamie Regan. Regan has only played in one NCAA game - the final 6:38 minutes of a game against UMass last November.

For the past two seasons, Adam Clark has been one of the top goalies in the British Columbia Hockey League. The BCHL has 16 teams and is considered among the top Junior A leagues in Canadian junior hockey. Clark has played for the Salmon Arm SilverBacks. In the 2012-13 season, Clark had the 5th best save percentage (.914) among BCHL goalies who had played at least 30 games (the BCHL plays a 58-game regular season).

When the NHL Central Scouting Service posted it's Preliminary Rankings in November, 2012, Adam Clark was listed as a "C" candidate. The CSS saw Clark as a potential 4th-6th Round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. In January 2013, when the NHL CSS Mid-Term Rankings were released, Clark was listed as the #32 North American goalie. Although Clark finished the remainder of 2012-13 regular season with a respectable run of 6 wins and 5 loses and posted an overall record of 18 wins, 16 loses, and a tie (see Career Statistics below), he was not drafted in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Last season, Clark nearly duplicated his performance from the 2012-13 season. He compiled a record of 14 wins, 14 loses, and 1 tie, and his Goals Against Average (2.87) and Save Percentage (.911) were almost identical to the previous season. Clark missed games near the end of the Salmon Arm season due to injury. Following off season training at First Line Training in Sherwood Park, he has fully recovered and is ready for the 2014-15 season at UNH.

Commitment to UNH

Adam Clark
DOB: 3-23-1993 Hometown: Sherwood Park, Alberta
Goalie, 6'5", 210 lbs. Catches Left
Commit to UNH: September 28, 2012
"It has always been an aspiration of mine to be a part of an elite Division 1 NCAA program and as of this year when UNH approached me things just fell right into place. With a great hockey and academic program UNH couldn’t have been a better fit for me and I am extremely excited to be a part of such a prestigious program. I had talked to a couple of other schools, but none for myself or my family were as clear of a choice as UNH." from "Adam Clark: UNH's Goalie of the Future", The UNH Men's Hockey Blog

Career Statistics

Player Season Team League W L T GAA SV%
Adam Clark  (G) 2013-14 Salmon Arm SilverBacks BCHL 14 14 1 2.87 .911
2012-13 Salmon Arm SilverBacks BCHL 18 16 1 2.89 .914
Playoffs BCHL 0 2 0 5.40 .827
2011-12 Salmon Arm SilverBacks BCHL 5 13 0 4.43 .885
2010-11 Sherwood Park Kings AMHL 11 6 2 2.74 .909
Playoffs AMHL 4 3 0 3.01 .893
2009-10 Sherwood Park Kings AMHL 9 5 4 3.94 .879
Playoffs AMHL 2 2 0 3.66 .916
2008-09 Sherwood Park Kings AMHL 7 1 2 2.80 .906
2007-08 Sherwood Park Flyers AMBHL 11 3 1 2.04 .922
Playoffs AMBHL 6 2 0 3.78 .868

2013-14 Highlight Reel

Coach's Report

Over the last two years, Adam Clark has worked extensively with goalie coaches Mike Valley and Pasco Valana of Elite Goalies. Coach Valley is the Goaltending Coach of the Dallas Stars and the founder of Elite Goalies. Coach Valana is the Assistant and Goaltending Coach of the University of British Columbia's hockey team. I interviewed both coaches regarding Adam Clark's goaltending style and strengths:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): How would you describe Adam's goalie style and what are his strengths?
Coach Mike Valley: Adam is a big goaltender that is learning to play with a combination of blocking (using his big frame to his advantage) and athleticism (learning to trust and use his pure athletic base when the opportunity calls for it). He’s a hard working goalie that put a lot of pride in his development.
Coach Pasco Valana: Adam is a goaltender that plays mid crease and approaches the game with efficiency. With the game changing to a more efficient style eliminating additional and possibly unnecessary movements, Adam chooses to play between the pipes or as we call it - "He plays the game within the frame".
Goaltenders in the previous years have challenged areas that maybe they did not have to which, in turn, opened up areas of net space for the next most dangerous option. Adam's approach would enable him to cover the net space and prep for potential plays.

Mike Lowry: Does Adam remind you of any current NHL goalies?
Coach Valley: The one goaltender that he reminds me a little of is Mike Smith (goalie for the Arizona Coyotes). Again using his big body to his advantage and using the less is more approach...letting the game come to him.
Coach Valana: Adam reminds me most of Mike Smith. A large goaltender, calm, emotionally controlled and positional. His responsible approach to the game will provide his defensemen with the confidence needed to take the chances that you sometimes need to take when playing at the NCAA level. That freedom will earn the respect from his D-men and forwards and begin the 4-year relationship needed for success at the NCAA level and to amplify the coach's message.

Lowry: In Adam's time working with Elite Goalies, what have been his main areas of improvement?
Coach Valley: His understanding of the game has improved a lot and his decision making abilities (where and when to stand and why). His skating abilities have improved a lot as well which will help him recover to get to the right spot when there are rebounds, etc.
Coach Valana: The transition from Junior A hockey to the 3 times greater speed of the NCAA, the game becomes much more intelligent, the players are more accurate, deceiving and creative. Over the course of the past 2 seasons, we have been working to refine Adam's game to best occupy the netspace, control rebounds, and place them into non-populated areas, and adopting a game that encourages a 6-inch movement in net regardless of the shot.
The second area, and one that he will always be working on, will be his skating both on his skates and on his pads. Goaltender power-skating along with puck skills and playing the puck has been at the corner stone of Adam's training over the past 700 days.
In closing, Adam is honoured to be given the opportunity to play with his new team, talented players and driven coaches. He understands that playing well is his thank you back to the staff for committing to him. He intends to contribute in any way that he can to the team.


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