A combination of more games on big ice, good support from talented linemates and two years of collegiate experience has helped Lake Superior State junior right wing Andrew Dommett get off to a good start to the 2013-14 hockey season.
Dommett tallied one point during his rookie season and two points last season. He already has four goals and five points 12 games into this season. He is tied for second on the team in overall goals scored.
“As of now the goals are going in for me,” Dommett said prior to last weekend’s trip to Bemidji State. “I’m getting a lot of opportunities, and it’s up to me to take those opportunities and run with them. The biggest difference from last year is confidence. In the past, being a rookie, I was kind of scared. And as a sophomore I was still kind of timid. As a junior I have a lot more confidence. We need to lead the way for the younger guys like the older guys led the way for us.”
Dommett has played almost every game this season with freshman left wing Garret Clemment and junior center Chris Ciotti. Clemment, with 1-5—6, is second only to Alex Globke in rookie scoring. Ciotti, with 1-4—5, got off to a slow start this season, but tallied a point in three of the Lakers’ last four games. Dommett said both linemates are good skaters who keep their feet moving when positioning down low.
“Both are really good, talented players,” Dommett said. “Ciotti is an amazing passer. He finds holes and makes it easy for you. Clemment is learning a lot, always asking questions. He wants to get better every day and is a skilled player.”
The Lakers have played six games on Olympic ice so far this season and are 2-3-1 in those rinks. Although Dommett has only one point on the big sheet, he likes the idea of having several Western Collegiate Hockey Association opponents with Olympic ice.
“I like to skate, and the bigger ice gives me more room to move. I enjoy playing on big ice,” Dommett said.
After a string of splits, Dommett said the Lakers need to focus better on taking both games of a series. As far as his own game goes, he’s been working since last season on improving his shot and defensive play.
“As a winger, I focus on breakouts and always getting the puck out,” he said. “I’ve been shooting the puck a lot, working on a quick release…The league is so fast, so you don’t have time to stick handle. It’s catch and release. I was working on that all summer. And the D-zone is so big in this game. I understand the D-zone a little bit more.”
“Andrew is a really fast skater, especially down the wall playing wing,” said Ciotti, who is also one of Dommett’s roommates. “He has a good shot and battles in front of the net. He is a big strong kid. I think his confidence and his mental game have improved over the years. He has also improved his game along the wall, especially breaking out of our own zone.”
Prior to arriving at LSSU, the Major, Saskatchewan, native played four junior seasons for the Kindersley Klippers, the same program from which former Laker standouts Troy Schwab ‘09 and Josh Sim ‘09 hailed. Dommett skated with Schwab in 2009, and his coaches included Larry Wintoneak and former Laker Trevor Weisgerber (1999-01).
“Troy helped me understand what it takes,” Dommett said. “He was a huge inspiration to me when I was 19 years old.”
“Andrew is a hard-working kid from a hard-working family,” said Schwab, who already has three goals and a team-leading 20 assists in 14 games for the CHL’s Denver Cutthroats. “His skating ability and his shot are his assets, and the more he uses those and the more confidence he gets, I think you’ll see him get better and better in the college game. You can see him making strides this year. But knowing where he comes from, he will keep working to get better. I’ve always thought Domm could be an outstanding player at LSSU, and I still feel that way about him.”
LSSU coach Jim Roque, who spent two seasons coaching in the SJHL, has always admired the work ethic of Saskatchewan players. Dommett has adapted well to the blue-collar mindset of Sault Ste. Marie and Laker Hockey.
“He was a guy that you could count on every day to give 100 percent, and that made him a good leader because he let his play do the talking,” said Weisgerber, who now runs Epic Hockey Camps after spending seven seasons in professional hockey. “He was a very coachable player and was always looking at ways to improve his game. I check up on the old alma mater quite often, and it’s good to see that Andrew and the team are off to a good start!”
Dommett looks forward to this weekend’s rematch with Bowling Green State, the team that eliminated LSSU from the 2013 playoffs. He hopes the Lakers finish strong during the first half the season, and come back even stronger for the second half.
“We need to continue doing what we’re doing,” he said. “And after a two-week break, we have to come back prepared.”