"I don't think too many people know too much about Alabama. They're some people that do a lot of really good things for that program. I honestly wish them the best. They gave me two years of my life that I wouldn't trade anything for."
Despite leaving for the University of North Dakota, goalie Clarke Saunders has very fond memories when it comes to his time at Alabama-Huntsville, who became the darling of the college hockey world when they had been a contender and were put in conference limbo because of their location.
Saunders played for the Brockville Braves in the CJHL, finishing there with a 78-33-3 record over three-plus seasons-- not to mention scoring a goal, breaking a single-season win record, and setting a franchise win record. Yet, Saunders did have some struggles at UAH, playing in two years there with a 6-37-1 record in two seasons, though he would often get peppered with 40-50 shots a night, also setting a school record for most saves in regulation.
However, when UAH's hockey program was up in the air, Saunders and other players were given the green light to look for opportunities elsewhere in their college hockey career. During a road trip, Saunders went to the UND to affirm his commitment and was able to be eligible for the next season without missing a year-- which is where he's at now.
And it seems it's been a solid transition for Saunders going from Alabama to North Dakota.
"It's been unbelieveable. I was sad to leave (UAH), had a lot of good friends on that team and was treated very well down south. But the transition has been unbelievable, everyone has been amazing here and have treated me real well. How could you complain about coming here??"
It's been so far, so good for Saunders-- posting a 2-1-1 record this season with a 1.73 GAA and .933 saver percentage going into this weekend's action against St. Cloud State University.
The audio below is rest of the one-on-one with Saunders where we talk about the season so far, the nuances that UND hockey brings, and senior goalie Tate Maris's new CD coming out.