It was a productive Friday night for Canisius athletics as the Golden Griffins scored key wins in men's hockey and men's soccer.
The Griffs opened the hockey season with a 5-3 win at Western Michigan thanks to senior Cory Conacher's hat trick. It was the second of his career and 11th in the Division I era for Canisius. Classmate and linemate Vincent Scarsella picked up three assists to move him to 101 career points. That makes him the seventh player to reach the 100-point plateau in the Griffs D-I history.
Canisius is now 3-12-3 all-time against teams in the CCHA and 3-6-1 in season openers over the last 10 seasons.
The teams meet again at 7:35 p.m. Saturday.
Meanwhile back in Buffalo, the Griffs men's soccer team was picking up its first win of the season and at a oportune time -- for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener.
Sophomore midfielder Steve Mahon scored his first collegiate goal in the 17th mintue and sophomore Kareem Gray made eight saves to earn his first career shutout in 1-0 win over Fairfield at Demske Sports Complex.
The stops an eight-game losing streak as Canisius went 0-7-1 in its non-conference schedule.
"Everything we have worked on this year was to get to this point in the season," Canisius coach Jim Hesch said. "We had a great week of training and out team is starting to come together as a group."
For Niagara, its men's soccer team also opened the MAAC season with a win, getting a 2-1 edge over Iona. Junior forward Liam Gilbert scored the game-winner in the 65th minute as the Purple Eagles improved to 3-6-1 overall.
“It was great to start the conference season with a win against a very good team,” Niagara coach Dermot McGrane said. “I thought our boys showed a lot of character and determination tonight and deserved the win.”
Both men's soccer teams play again on Sunday with Niagara hosting Fairfield at 1 p.m. and Canisius hosting Iona at noon.
--- Amy Moritz
taggedBig 4 | Canisius | college hockey | Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference | Niagara