Stevenson’s future is in all Caps

  • Clay Stevenson Name here—

  • Taken during Dartmouth's 5-3 loss to RPI in Game 3 of their ECAC Tournament First Round series in Troy, N.Y. Credit: Joe Boyle, Troy Record. Troy Record — Joe Boyle

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/2/2022 9:26:41 PM
Modified: 4/8/2022 9:52:48 PM

HANOVER — Following a strong season with the Dartmouth College men’s hockey team in which he posted a .922 save percentage and was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team, goaltender Clay Stevenson signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals on Monday.

The 23-year-old from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, played four years of junior hockey before coming to Dartmouth, the last three with the Coquitlam Express, where he led his league in save percentage and goals-against average during the 2019-20 season.

After his freshman season in Hanover was canceled due to the Ivy League’s COVID-19 policies, Stevenson was a steadying force between the pipes this year for the Big Green, even when the defense in front of him struggled. He made 23 saves in the first period alone in a loss to UMass-Lowell in early February and had a save percentage above .900 in all 23 games.

“The biggest thing I developed here was just refining my game and my overall foundation in the crease,” Stevenson said. “I play a little bit more reserved now than I did in junior hockey. I would tend to go a little crazy out there and lose my net, and I don’t do that as much these days.”

Dartmouth head coach Reid Cashman, who was hired in 2020, previously spent two seasons as a Capitals assistant, and for two years before that he was an assistant coach with the Caps’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, which is where Stevenson will be assigned.

Cashman praised Stevenson’s work with Big Green goaltenders coach Jason Tapp, who oversaw three netminders who signed NHL contracts while at Union College.

“Clay has the size, the athleticism and, most importantly, the mental toughness to be an NHL goalie,” Cashman said. “You have to have all three of those, and the mental component is the biggest thing. It’s only 64 in the world who get to play in the NHL, and that’s what I think will separate Clay and give him a chance to play at the highest level.”

Stevenson made at least 30 saves on 13 occasions this year, including a high of 47 against conference champions Quinnipiac on Jan. 16. His 36 saves helped the Big Green win game 1 of their ECAC tournament first-round series at Rensselaer, and he made 14 in the opening 20 minutes of the decisive game 3 of that series.

He will report to Hershey next week while continuing to take classes remotely, and then Stevenson said he will likely take a personal leave from school as he pursues an NHL career. Stevenson does plan to finish his degree after his playing days are over.

“It’s definitely been busy trying to get my life sorted out before I head down to Hershey,” Stevenson said. “I had to get into some online classes and had some help from the school in doing that. It’s been a lot of logistical things to figure out, getting ready for the next chapter in my life here.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.




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