College women's hockey: Clarkson senior David plans to excel as a go-to forward this season

Sep. 23—POTSDAM — Gabrielle David has already been so productive with the Clarkson University women's hockey team that she enters her senior season needing just three points to reach 100 for her career.

But David is not satisfied with what she's already done and spent the summer working harder than she has before to be ready to excel on the ice this season.

"I worked hard to be one of the best players on the team, but that means I have to do everything right, too," David said.

David has always been among Clarkson's top scorers, but her first three years she's been behind players like Elizabeth Giguere and Caitrin Lonergan.

This year she could emerge as Clarkson's go-to offensive player.

"I want to get better and grow my play, so I have to be good in all areas," David said. "I like challenges. It will be good for me."

David scored 38 points as a freshman, 20 as a sophomore in half the number of games and 39 more last year.

"I want to work on sustaining my play and getting points is always fun," David said. "The shots were there (last year) but having a shot mentality and wanting to score more is more important this year.

"This summer I've prepared how to have the puck more and puck control. It's not just being there and scoring, it's also knowing everything else so you can be at the right place at the right moment."

David said she worked on improving her speed over the summer. She also worked on being tougher.

Part of her offseason hockey training also included playing against a childhood hero, Canadian Olympian Marie-Philip Poulin.

"I played against her in a 3-on-3 league this summer and then at the Canadian (tryout camp in August) we were on the same team," David said. "She's a role model to me and she's also (French-Canadian) so we had that connection. In practice I was trying to go against her line. If I keep going against the hardest line, that's how I get better."

David's work ethic is something Clarkson coach Matt Desrosiers appreciates. Many of his top players in the past have also been as driven to excel.

"She's been growing into a leader on and off the ice for us," Desrosiers said. "She just does everything the right way and everything well. On the ice she's that kid that I can kind of point too at any time and say, 'Hey, that's how we do things here'. It's really valuable to have those types of players on your team. "You can see when (players) come in and get into the preseason you can tell that they've put the work in over the summer. It goes back to not only helping herself but also helping her teammates. When they see how hard she's worked over the summer, they know she's ready and prepared for the season."

Clarkson had already won three national titles by the time David arrived on campus and having a chance to win was a big factor in her choosing to come to Potsdam.

She was supposed to play in an NCAA Tournament game against Wisconsin in 2020, but that game was called off at the last minute due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Clarkson did not make the NCAA Tournament in the shortened 2020-21 season so last year was David's first chance to play in the event, when the Golden Knights faced Wisconsin.

"It's something that I'm going to be proud of," David said. "I want to make it to the Frozen Four, because I haven't been able to do that. I came here to win and I saw the success they've had and that's something I want to repeat."

David has the chance to come back next year as well, but she said she's waiting to see if any kind of big professional women's league starts after this season.

She also wants to stay involved in the game after her playing career ends.

"I'd like to be a strength coach or a hockey coach," David said. "I want to stay in the sports arena."