January, 1980 – David Lahey
The season started slowly, with the team lugging a below-.500 record into the semester break. But things improved quickly from there. Aided by the arrival of talented Buffalo native Mike Denk, who brought experience from Division I St. Louis University, three other forwards who would eventually join the 100-point club (the aforementioned Marta, along with Wall and Carman), and with production from Allen and juniors Graves, Lahey, and Nasto, the Continentals started working their way up the ECAC standings. As the offense started to click, Pollan and Pillmore, each paired with a freshman, led an improving defense. In the net, another freshman, Michel Cassier, was settling in and setting a standard for fine goaltending that would become legendary by the end of the decade.
By the end of January, the team’s record had improved to .500, and optimism was growing that this team could reverse the trend of the last two years. On the back line, freshmen Pete Jones, a Clinton High product, and Monty Pooley were becoming solid and reliable performers, freeing Pollan and Pillmore to be more offensive-minded and take the occasional risk. Which they did to great advantage. Cassier was becoming a star performer, and the kid from Ontario just kept scoring. How did he do it? He was not the fastest guy on the ice, he was not the strongest, and he did not have a great shot (to be precise, if Marta was more than 15 feet from the net, the opposing goalie had time to reach for the water bottle on the back of the net and take a swig). In spite of those apparent shortcomings, “Sparky” had become the team’s leading scorer and was a reliable contributor when the game was tight.
– David Lahey