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Everblades news: Leggio named ECHL Goaltender of the Week

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Leggio fits in quickly as professional goalie

EX-CLARKSON STANDOUT: Player competed in ECHL all-star game, continues to show ability

By CAP CAREY

TIMES SPORTSWRITER

MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2009

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article...69959/-1/SPORTS

A quick glance at his statistics shows that former Clarkson University goalie David Leggio has made a quick adjustment to life in professional hockey.

Leggio, who graduated last spring from Clarkson, was the winning goalie in the East Coast Hockey League's All-Star game last Wednesday in Reading, Pa., stopping 10 of 11 shots in the second period as the American Conference picked up an 11-5 win over the National Conference.

Now playing for the Florida Everblades, Leggio has a 15-3-1 record with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage in his rookie season.

"He's got some of the best numbers in the (ECHL)," said Clarkson coach George Roll. "I'm sure he'll get the opportunity to get up to the (American Hockey League)."

Leggio, who is 24, has had two very brief stints in the AHL. Last year he played in one game with the Binghamton Senators and stopped seven of nine shots in 30 minutes of action. He also had one start this season with the Albany River Rats but gave up seven goals out of 33 shots.

"He had a tough game in the one game he played with Albany," Roll said. "But he came here to prove he could play (NCAA Division I hockey), and he's got that makeup to do whatever it takes."

Roll pointed out that sometimes the road to the higher levels is longer for goalies, citing former Vermont standout Tim Thomas as an example.

Now a starter for the Boston Bruins, Thomas was a minor league goalie for almost nine full seasons, including several stints playing in Europe, before he finally arrived as an NHL regular.

Leggio is one of four members of Clarkson's senior class last year who is playing professional hockey in North America.

Nick Dodge, Clarkson's captain for the past two seasons, is playing for the Albany River Rats and has five goals and 15 assists through his first 45 games.

"With Dodger we've heard nothing but positive things," Roll said. "Nick is playing a defensive role and taking key (faceoffs). They are pleased with his development."

Steve Zalewski, an assistant captain at Clarkson last year, started his AHL career right after Clarkson's loss to Michigan in the NCAA quarterfinals last year. He picked up two goals and four assists in seven games and now has eight goals and 17 assists in 45 games for the Worcester Sharks.

"Steve is on the ice in critical situations," Roll said. "They are very pleased with where he's at right now."

Defenseman Grant Clitsome, the other assistant captain for Clarkson last year, played in one playoff game for the Syracuse Crunch last season, and this year he's seen action in 41 games with two goals and five assists.

"It's been kind of a tough situation," Roll said. "They have more (defensemen) than they have spots. I think his confidence has struggled because of that."

One other member of Clarkson's class of 2008 is Shawn Weller, who left the program after his junior year to sign with the Ottawa Senators organization. Weller registered 16 points in 59 games in his first full season as a pro last year and had two goals and five assists in 38 games with the Binghamton Senators this season.

He was sent down to the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL this week, a team he played 10 games with last year, scoring four goals with five assists.

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I saw Leggio several times in person during his Clarkson career and he is something special. I am extremely pleased he is doing well, and am hopeful he can someday make the jump to the NHL.

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