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Clarkson hockey: Moor’s presence should boost Golden Knights

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POTSDAM — When Clarkson took the ice for the first time in 2013 last weekend there was a new face in the lineup.

Freshman forward T.J. Moor, a 21-year-old from Lake St. Louis, Miss., joined the program in time for the second semester and skated in his first two games last weekend, picking up an assist against UMass-Lowell on Saturday night.

Moor, who is 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, played last year with the Dubuque (Iowa) Fighting Saints of the U.S. Hockey League and scored 14 goals with 23 assists in 53 games. He was part of Clarkson’s recruiting class, but had to get a bit more schoolwork done before he could start his college career.

“Clarkson stuck with me the whole way,” Moor said. “The coaching staff is a great group of guys. I just had to get all my schoolwork done to get here. It was all on me. I just beared down and focused and got it done to make sure I could come here.”

Moor’s first impression for the area fans was that of a speedy forward who was a hustler.

“He’s someone who works hard,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “He played a pretty prominent role on a good team in the (U.S. Hockey League) last year. He’ll play at high level for us.”

Moor was not on a team during the first part of the season. He worked out at the Power Play Gym in St. Louis, which is owned by former National Hockey League defenseman Rik Wilson, who skated for St. Louis, Chicago, and Calgary in 251 games from 1981-88.

“I spent most of my time working out there all week long,” Moor said. “I was practicing four or five times a week.”

Said Jones, “He’s a pretty focused kid and he skated a lot. Missing time, you’re not in physical, contact shape. For the most part you are just not getting bumped. Your awareness for being prepared to make a play, and get hit at any time, that’s the thing that’s going to take some time.”

The timing worked out for Moor, who got the chance to debut with Clarkson at Cheel Arena, instead of in a post-Christmas tournament elsewhere.

“It’s just great,” Moor said. “I’m really enjoying everything and all the guys are great. I’m glad to be here. I was watching every game on the internet. I struggled a little bit in the beginning of the first week of practice, but at the end of the week I felt good in the games.”

TANSEY ON THE MEND

Another Clarkson player who missed the first half of the season was sophomore defenseman Kevin Tansey, who was the victim of an assault in Canada over the summer.

Tansey, who is 6-3, 207 pounds, will not play this season. He is back in school for the second semester and is using a medical redshirt, which enables him to practice with the team and have three years of eligibility remaining after this season.

“It feels awesome,” Tansey said. “It was about five months that I didn’t skate, due to shoulder surgery and all that. It was great to be back with the guys again.”

Tansey, who scored two goals with seven assists in 39 games last year, estimated that he’s at about 80 percent of his normal abilities right now.

“I feel a little bit slow out there,” Tansey said. “My first three steps aren’t quite there and I still need to regain some strength. I’m in the weight room with (strength and conditioning coach Jaime Rodriguez) four times a week lifting weights. A couple more times a week I’ll do some core stuff or more cardio. It’s a good way to get back in shape. It’s a lot harder to play defense (in practice) when you can’t play contact. It’s hard to do on-on-ones. I’m working hard in every drill and I try not to mess things up and screw up the practice.”

Said Jones, “He’s a warrior. It’s killing him inside that he’s not able to play, but it’s giving him an opportunity to make sure the skills stay intact and compete with our guys. He’s the type of guy who is great in the locker room. It’s important for us to have him around, and it’s important for him, emotionally, to be around too.”

Tansey was not in school in the first semester, but he made the short drive from Hammond, Ontario, to attend every home game in the first semester.

“It was very important to me,” Tansey said. “You can’t keep me away from hockey. I like supporting our team.”

Tansey will wind up leaving Clarkson with this year’s freshmen class, which was the class he was originally supposed to be part of. He came to school a year early when Mark Borowiecki left after his junior season, freeing up a roster spot.

“He’s an imposing player,” Jones said. “It’s in his best interest for this redshirt situation. He can go in any rink on any night and compete at a high level. That’s the thing you miss most without Kevin in the lineup.”

Sportswriter Cap Carey covers Clarkson University hockey for the Times. He can be reached at ccarey@wdt.net

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