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by Alex Pagliano / Buffalo Sabres

A look at the week that was in local college hockey

Coming off of a 6-1 loss on the road at Robert Morris on Friday, the Canisius College men’s hockey team returned home to host Mercyhurst at Buffalo State Ice Arena on Saturday in search of offense.

The newly crafted line of senior Patrick Sullivan and juniors Matthew Grazen and Braeden Rigney provided the offensive spark that the Golden Griffins needed, leading the team to a 4-3 victory in a rematch of last season’s Atlantic Hockey Association championship game. The win improves Canisius’ record to 2-5-0 on the season.

“We were trying to find some depth in scoring. I never thought that placing that three centers on the same line would produce the results that it did,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “It worked and it’s something that we are going to want to ride.”

I never thought that placing that three centers on the same line would produce the results that it did. It worked and it’s something that we are going to want to ride.Canisius Coach Dave Smith

The line dominated throughout the game. Sullivan tallied three points on two goals and an assist, while Grazen recorded a career-best three points on three assists. Rigney also matched a career-best two points on a goal and an assist.

“We got put together today. We were excited about the pairing. We’re all hard workers,” Grazen said. “We were funneling pucks to the net and we were working hard out there.”

Mercyhurst opened the scoring. Daniel O'Donoghue pushed a rebound past Canisius goalie Keegan Asmundson on the power play to give the Lakers an early one-goal advantage.

Defenseman Chris Rumble scored his first goal of the season at 15:24 to even the score at the end of the first period. Grazen and Rigney each added an assist on the goal.

The Golden Griffins took an early 2-1 lead in the second, as Sullivan took advantage of a Mercyhurst turnover in the offensive zone at 1:15.

Mercyhurst would respond 31 seconds later, as Nardo Nagtzaam pushed a rebound past Asmundson to tie the game. The Lakers would add to the lead at 12:19, as Stephen Hrehoriak converted a shorthanded odd-man rush opportunity.

Trailing 3-2, Rigney would open the scoring for Canisius in the third period at 4:53. The Singhampton, Ont. native jammed away at a loose puck in the crease that entered the net. Grazen and Sullivan each recorded an assist on the play.

“They are really good players,” Rigney said. “It felt good to go out and there and be able to execute.”

At 12:28 in the third period, Sullivan scored his second goal of the game, deflecting a point shot from teammate Doug Jessey to give Canisius a 4-3 lead. The senior matched a career-high with three points on two goals and one assist.

“We were working hard. Pucks were bouncing our way,” Sullivan said. “[Jessey] made an excellent point shot and I was lucky enough to be in front of the net and [the puck] found itself in the net.”

Mercyhurst had an excellent opportunity to even the game late. With 3:39 remaining, Canisius forward Carl Larsson received a major penalty for charging. The Golden Griffins, who entered Saturday having killed just 69.7 percent of all power-play opportunities, rallied for their best kill of the year to preserve the lead.

Asmundson made 31 saves to earn his second victory of the season.

Canisius travels to Ohio State on Friday, Nov. 15. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Niagara University men’s hockey team suffered consecutive losses on the road at Ohio State this weekend. The Purple Eagles fell 4-1 on Friday before suffering a 6-1 setback on Saturday. The losses move Niagara to 1-6-1 on the season.

The Purple Eagles trailed 2-0 entering the third period on Friday, but senior Ryan Rashid cut the deficit to just one with 1:43 to play in regulation. Ohio State would quash the Niagara comeback, as forward Max McCormick would add two goals within the next 1:10 to preserve the victory.

“The game was up for grabs,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said in a team release. “Their top line made a really good play on the power play goal and that is the difference in the game.”

Freshman Jackson Teichroeb made 25 saves in defeat.

The Buckeyes excelled in all facets of the game on Saturday, scoring the first five goals of the contest en route to a 6-1 victory. Ohio State outshot Niagara 37-16 and held the Purple Eagles scoreless on five power play opportunities.

“The team lacked passion,” Burkholder said in a release. “This probably was one of the worst efforts collectively from a Niagara University hockey team in as long as I can remember.”

The Purple Eagles return home on Friday, Nov. 15 to host Army at 7 p.m.

The Buffalo State men’s hockey traveled to Morrisville State for a pair of State University of New York Athletic Conference games this past weekend. The Bengals used seven goals to defeat the Broncos 7-5 on Friday, but were outscored 5-3 on Saturday. The weekend split moves Buffalo State to 2-2-0 on the season.

Seven different Buffalo State players scored Friday night. Sophomore Corey Gurski put together the best performance of his young career, posting a career-best two points on a goal and an assist. Freshman Nick Berst also recorded his first multi-point performance, recording two points on a goal and an assist. Ben Kramer, Dan Turgeon, Adam Rossi, Kyle Whipple and Jake Rosen also scored for the Bengals.

Kevin Carr made 37 saves to earn his second victory of the season.

Morrisville State scored four unanswered goals to start the second game and never trailed. Carr made 24 saves in 30:17 of action, while Mike DeLaVergne made his first collegiate appearance in relief, making eight saves in 27:46 of play.

Senior Mike Zannella recorded three points on a goal and two assists. Junior Dan Turgeon added another two goals. Zannella (1G, 4A) and Turgeon (4G, 1A) each share the team lead with five points.

The Bengals return home on Friday, Nov. 15 to host Potsdam at 7 p.m.

Fredonia State hosted Canton at Steele Hall on Friday. The Blue Devils (1-2-0) recorded 34 shots on goal but were held scoreless, falling 2-0.

With one minute remaining in the opening period, Canton placed used two consecutive power play opportunities to place two shots past Fredonia State sophomore Jeff Flagler just 31 seconds apart.

Flagler stopped five of seven shots for the Blue Devils. Freshman Chris Eiserman started the second period and held Canton scoreless for the remainder of the game.

Eiserman has provided the Blue Devils with a presence inside the crease. Through 163:02 of play, the Newburyport, Mass. native ranked second in the State University of New York Athletic Conference with a .932 save percentage.

The Blue Devils host Plattsburgh on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

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