When he came to Canisius, he hoped for the best.
He didn't quite expect the best to be this good.
Charles Williams spent four years at Ferris State. With a year of eligibility left he joined the Golden Griffins for the opportunity to play one more season and work on his masters' degree in sports administration. The Griffs liked his game and, more importantly, the leadership and consistency he would add to the team's culture.
It's turned into an incredible season for both parties.
Williams leads the nation in save percentage, stopping 94.2 percent of the shots he sees. And he sees a lot. He also ranks first in shots faced with 948.
His 1.79 goals against average in Atlantic Hockey play is tops in the conference and a big reason why the Griffs are on a 13-game unbeaten streak heading into Friday's tilt against Niagara in Dwyer Arena.
"To be honest, I wanted the best to happen and whatever that entailed I was going to work hard for it and to see that it’s gone this far and we’re continuing to do so well means a lot," Williams said. "I definitely didn’t have this in mind but we’ll keep running with it, keep battling and making sure we get better every game.
"It’s definitely a blessing, a big blessing. I didn't know much about Canisius and to be able to come here and see the culture and see it thrive as it has, that's been great."
It's not a surprise to Canisius coach Dave Smith that Williams has provided a consistent, steady presence in goal game in, game out for the Griffs.
"He is a consistent person," Smith said. "His behavior is consistent. His attitude, his focus, his demeanor, his leadership. That’s why we initially brought him in. So the fact that he’s playing with all those characteristics is not a surprise to me."
And all those characteristics have played a role in his success.
Williams appeared in 20 games for Ferris State, a member of the WCHA. With the Bulldogs he had a 5-8-1 record, one shutout, a 3.00 goals against average and an .899 save percentage.
What he's noticed about Atlantic Hockey competition is the skill-level of the players who seem to create offense out of nowhere, challenging a goaltender's resolve.
"The league can get real out of hand at times in terms of the offense," Williams said. "The offense can come out of nothing. There are a lot of good, skilled guys in this league and we have a lot on our team. You can see guys make something out of nothing. I think that’s the real tough thing about this league, guys are able to create offense from almost nothing. You see a lot of shorthanded goals because guys are skilled."
The skilled players on Canisius help prepare Williams for games.
"I think it starts in practice. We’ve got great skill so when I see it in practice it allows me to be ready during the game," Williams said. "That’s what gives me the calm presence, because we’re working hard in practice. I’m not the biggest guy so I try to use my hockey IQ when I can. I take pride in that, being able to read the plays. I try to keep a calm, composed atmosphere back there so it gives our team confidence."