After a chance at a second-straight Atlantic Hockey title narrowly evaded the grasp of the Canisius men’s hockey team, the 2014-15 season – and the quest to return to the championship stage – opened this weekend.
The Griffs opened their season Friday night with a 4-2 victory over Western Michigan at First Niagara Center. Senior leadership led the way for Canisius in their debut, as defenseman and team captain Doug Jessey (0+2) and left wing Doug Beck (1+1) led the team in scoring with two points each. Mitch McCrank, Mike Sabatini and Tyler Wiseman also scored for the Griffs. Senior goaltender Keegan Asmundson opened his first season as the full-time starter with 22 saves on 24 shots in the victory.
Saturday night was a different story for Canisius. The Golden Griffins and Broncos returned to First Niagara Center for the second contest of the weekend, and Western Michigan emerged victorious by a score of 4-1.
Western Michigan sophomore forward Sheldon Dries was the first star, collecting the first two goals of the game, with the second coming with the man advantage. Morrison picked up another power-play tally in the third period. Canisius struggled on the penalty kill against the Broncos, killing off just five of nine power-play chances.
Wiseman picked up the lone Canisius goal , and Asmundson made 18 saves on 22 shots in the loss. Junior goaltender Adam Harris stopped two shots in nine minutes of relief work.
The Golden Griffins head to West Point this weekend for a matchup with Buffalo-native Parker Gahagen and the Army Black Knights.Upcoming Games
- Friday, October 17 @ Army (7:05 p.m.)
- Saturday, October 18 @ Army (7:05 p.m.)
NIAGARA PURPLE EAGLES
After the 2012-13 Purple Eagles earned Atlantic Hockey’s first at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, last season represented a step backwards as a much younger Niagara squad finished the year 15-20-5.
The opening weekend for the Purple Eagles showed that there is still progress to be made. On Friday night in Dwyer Arena, Niagara dropped a hard-fought contest against Clarkson University by a final score of 3-1.
Robert Angiolella scored the lone goal of the game for the Purple Eagles, burying an unassisted chance 1:55 into the second period. Niagara was outshot 28-13 for the game, and sophomore goaltender Adrian Ignagni gathered 25 saves in the loss.
The Purple Eagles then hosted St. Lawrence University on Saturday. The Saints scored five goals in the second period and four more in the third in a 10-2 victory over the Purple Eagles.
Philip Nasca and Derian Plouffe scored for Niagara in the loss, with Mike Conderman, Stephen Pietrobon and Keegan Harper each recording an assist. Ignagni was pulled after allowing six goals on 18 shots in the first two periods, and backup Chris Paulin made eight saves on 12 shots over the final 20 minutes.
The Purple Eagles have been bitten by the injury bug early this season. After losing forwards T.J. Sarcona and Chris Lochner, defensemen Tyler Akeson and Kevin Albers, and goaltender Jackson Teichroeb to injury before this weekend’s games, Niagara suffered another setback when standout sophomore defenseman Vincent Muto injured his wrist Saturday against St. Lawrence.
The Purple Eagles will have little time to recuperate as they prepare for a home-and-home set with defending Atlantic Hockey champion Robert Morris University.
- Friday, October 17 @ Robert Morris (7 p.m.)
- Saturday, October 18 vs. Robert Morris (7 p.m., Dwyer Arena)
The inaugural weekend of the Gene Polisseni Center put the 2014-15 RIT Tigers on display for Rochester. Playing in front of crowds exceeding 3,000 fans both nights, the Tigers split their two opening contests.
RIT hosted St. Lawrence on opening night and won a convincing 5-2 contest. The Tigers were led by two goals each from two of the team’s co-captains, defenseman Alexander Kuqali and forward Brad McGowan. Caleb Cameron also scored for RIT. Josh Mitchell had three assists to lead all scorers, and goaltender Jordan Ruby turned away 21 of 23 shots for the victory.
On Saturday night, RIT played host to Clarkson University. Coming off a 3-1 win at Niagara on Friday, the Golden Knights entered Gene Polisseni Center on Saturday and topped the Tigers by the same score.
Cameron scored RIT’s only goal, and junior goaltender Ken MacLean made 31 saves in the loss. One night after picking up two points (1+1) against Niagara, Grand Island’s Joe Zarbo added two more assists for Clarkson to lead all scorers in the victory.
RIT returns to action on Saturday at Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester on Saturday, as seventh-ranked Boston College comes to town.
- Saturday, October 18 vs. Boston College (7:05 p.m., Blue Cross Arena)