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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres

The Canisius College hockey team begins a new era during the 2014-15 season with 16 home games in the inaugural season of HARBORCENTER. The program’s complete 34-game schedule, which includes two additional home games at First Niagara Center, was announced by head coach Dave Smith on Wednesday.

The Griffs open the regular season on Oct. 10, beginning a two-game series against Western Michigan at First Niagara Center. Canisius is set to play on the Sabres’ home ice for the first time since hosting top-ranked New Hampshire and UMass Lowell during the 2003-04 campaign.


Canisius then hits the road for a pair of two-game series at Army and AIC before retuning to Buffalo to host Ohio State. The team’s first games at the newly-constructed HARBORCENTER are set for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 with 7:35 p.m. start times.

“We’ve put together an exciting and demanding schedule for our first season downtown at HARBORCENTER,” Smith said. “We’ve been able to bring in two nationally-recognized hockey programs in Western Michigan and Ohio State to Buffalo in addition to a tremendous and difficult league schedule.

“Canisius students and hockey fans across Western New York are going to be able to see some of the best hockey at the amateur level next season. Buffalo is a hockey town and we’re excited to show some of the sport’s great young talent. Our team will be tested in every game throughout the season and we believe that this schedule will help us play our best hockey in March. I’m really looking forward to the season and continuing to build on all the success that our program has had.”

Overall, the Griffs are set to play 16 regular-season games during their first season at HARBORCENTER. Season tickets for all 19 home games in Buffalo (including an exhibition game and two contests at First Niagara Center) are $140 with individual games priced at $12 ($8 for children). To purchase tickets, call the Canisius College ticket office at (716) 888-2885.

Canisius is also scheduled to play at Maine in non-conference action on Jan. 2-3.

The Griffs will play 28 of their 34 games against Atlantic Hockey foes during the 2014-15 regular season. The Griffs square off with AIC, Air Force, Army and Mercyhurst four times during the campaign – with two home games and two road games against each school. Canisius also hosts two-game series against Bentley, Holy Cross and RIT, while playing at Niagara, Robert Morris and Sacred Heart for two games.

After advancing to the Atlantic Hockey Championship in each of the last two seasons, the Griffs will look to continue its strong postseason play when the league’s tournament begins on March 6. The top five teams in the regular-season standings receive a bye in the first round, which is a best 2-of-3 series from March 6 to March 8. After an additional best 2-of-3 quarterfinal series (March 13-15), the four advancing teams will meet on March 20 and 21 in Rochester, New York to determine the league’s champion.

Canisius returns 18 letterwinners from a team that advanced to its second-straight Atlantic Hockey title game last season. The Griffs won the program’s first conference championship in 2013, earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

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