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by Joe Ray / Buffalo Sabres

CANISIUS GOLDEN GRIFFINS (6-6-5 overall, 5-4-4 Atlantic Hockey)

Canisius heads into the holiday break tied for fourth in Atlantic Hockey, but is just one game behind both Holy Cross and Bentley, who are tied for second in the conference. Both of those teams will be coming to HARBORCENTER in January.

Canisius accumulated a 2-1-2 record over their last five games to stay in the thick of the Atlantic Hockey race. Their success comes as the line of Shane Conacher, Ryan Schmelzer and Ralph Cuddemi continues to find the back of the net on a regular basis. Over the last five games, Cuddemi (5+3) and Conacher (1+6) have led the team in scoring, while Schmelzer (1+4) has proven to be a reliable two-way player as a freshman. Schmelzer leads the Griffs with a plus-five rating on the season.

Canisius returns to their home at HARBORCENTER on January 9 after a non-conference series with the Maine Black Bears to start the new year.

Upcoming Games

  • Friday, January 2 @ Maine (7:05 p.m.)
  • Saturday, January 3 @ Maine (7:05 p.m.)
  • Friday, January 9 vs. Holy Cross (11:05 a.m., HARBORCENTER)
  • Saturday, January 10 vs. Holy Cross (7:35 p.m., HARBORCENTER)

NIAGARA PURPLE EAGLES (3-12-1 overall, 3-8-1 Atlantic Hockey)
RIT TIGERS (5-8-3 overall, 4-5-3 Atlantic Hockey)

After emerging with a win and a tie against Canisius in November, the RIT Tigers earned the same weekend results against Niagara. RIT used a three-goal second period to pull away for a 4-1 victory on home ice Friday night. When the series shifted to Dwyer Arena for Saturday’s action, Jackson Teichroeb powered the Purple Eagles as they weathered the Tigers’ attack in a 1-1 tie.

Friday night, Derian Plouffe opened the scoring for Niagara midway through the first period. RIT’s Matt Garbowsky, the nation’s leading goal scorer, had two goals in the first three minutes of the second to give the Tigers a lead they would not relinquish. Caleb Cameron extended the RIT lead with a power-play goal late in the second period, and Josh Mitchell scored on a five-on-three with 15 seconds to play to polish off RIT’s dominant home victory.

Jordan Ruby made 24 saves to earn his fourth win of the season in net for the Tigers. Despite surrendering four goals, Teichroeb made 44 saves for Niagara in the loss.

The scoring was not as plentiful on Saturday night in Lewiston. Garbowsky’s 14th of the season gave RIT the lead on the power-play at 14:17 of the first period, but Niagara responded quickly as Plouffe set up Philip Nasca for the tying goal 49 seconds later. From there on out, it was a goaltending battle between Teichroeb and Ruby. Teichroeb finished the game with 34 saves and came up big in the overtime period where RIT outshot Niagara 5-1. Ruby finished with 30 saves, including 18 over the final two periods of regulation.

With three goals and an assist this weekend, Garbowsky shares the national goal-scoring lead while sitting fifth in the NCAA in scoring. Boston University’s Jack Eichel continues to hold onto the scoring lead, while three other Atlantic Hockey forwards sit ahead of Garbowsky in the top five: Bentley’s Andrew Gladiuk and Max French, and Robert Morris’ Cody Wydo.

For Niagara, their offensive struggles (29 goals through 16 games) have been an issue throughout the season, but Teichroeb continues to shine in his sophomore season. Starting all 10 games since returning from injury on October 31, Teichroeb is now 3-6-1 with a 2.89 GAA and .905 save%.

After the holiday break, Niagara starts a six-game road stretch at Sacred Heart. For RIT, they will participate in the Mariucci Classic hosted by the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Tigers open their tournament schedule against UMass-Lowell before playing either Minnesota or Merrimack.

Upcoming Games (Niagara)

  • Friday, January 2 @ Sacred Heart (7 p.m.)
  • Saturday, January 3 @ Sacred Heart (7 p.m.)
  • Friday, January 9 @ Air Force (9 p.m.)
  • Saturday, January 10 @ Air Force (9 p.m.)
Upcoming Games (RIT)
  • Friday, January 2 @ UMass-Lowell (5:07 p.m.)
  • Saturday, January 3 vs. TBA
  • Friday, January 9 vs. AIC (7:05 p.m., Gene Polisseni Center)
  • Saturday, January 10 vs. AIC (7:05 p.m., Gene Polisseni Center)

BUFFALO STATE BENGALS (3-6-2 overall, 2-4-2 SUNYAC)
After a grueling seven-game road stretch, the Bengals returned home Saturday afternoon to finish the first half of their schedule with a 5-3 win over Johnson and Wales.

Freshman Jason Zaleski scored his first collegiate hat trick to lead the Bengals, capping off his night with an empty-net goal. Ryan Salkeld paced all scorers with two goals and two assists, and now leads Buffalo State in scoring with 11 points (5+6) in 11 games. Zaleski was named SUNYAC Rookie of the Week, while Salkeld took home Player of the Week honors.

Ian Sylves made his sixth straight start in net for the Bengals, denying 20 of 23 shots against to help Buffalo State head into their two-week break on their first two-game winning streak of the season.

After their next two weeks off, the Bengals head off to participate in the Northfield Savings Bank Holiday Tournament hosted by Norwich University. Buffalo State opens the tournament against Neumann before playing either Norwich or Colby on January 3.

Upcoming Games

  • Friday, January 2 @ Neumann (4 p.m.)
  • Saturday, January 3 vs. TBA
  • Tuesday, January 6 @ Elmira (7 p.m.)
  • Saturday, January 10 @ Nazareth (7 p.m.)
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