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Air Force provides update on player injured during Canisius game

Air Force forward George Michalke III was taken off the ice on a stretcher during Thursday's conference opener with Canisius. Air Force provided an update this morning.

"George has a head injury and was taken to the hospital last night to run tests," Dave Toller, sports information director, said in an email to The News. "He was in stable condition last night and awaiting further evaluations."

---John Vogl

Canisius' defense is stingy through opening five hockey games

Finding offense is going to be a challenge for Canisius. The Golden Griffins' defense is in fine form, however.

Canisius throttled Air Force for much of the teams' Atlantic Hockey opener Thursday, holding the defending champs to just one goal in a 1-1 tie.

"They capitalized on their best chance of the night," Canisius coach Dave Smith said. "I’m happy from Capo on out."

"Capo" is goaltender Tony Capobianco, who is looking for his first win (0-3-1) despite a 1.98 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.

"He’s very comfortable, very calm," Smith said of the junior goaltender from Mississauga, Ont. "We worked hard in the previous two years to get him ready for this time because he was a championship goalie in junior hockey, and we knew this time would come. Right now it looks like he’s capitalizing on his opportunity."

The Griffs have allowed only nine goals through their five games, with just two coming on the power play. Canisius' penalty killers are 24 for 26.

"They’ve been playing tough defense," Smith said. "We’ve been giving ourselves a chance because of goaltending, good defense and good penalty kill."

Canisius, though, is averaging just one goal per game. If the offense can catch up to the defense, the squad can improve its 1-3-1 record.

"We’re learning how to score, and it’s really experience," Smith said. "It’s just taking the next step. We had 20 freshmen and sophomores to start the year last year. It’s no different than a rookie stepping into the National Hockey League. It takes some time to learn the places, learn the spaces."

---John Vogl

Video: Bona men's basketball coach talks about challenges and expectations

Video: Preview of the Big 4 college basketball scene

The News' Amy Moritz and Bob DiCesare give a preview of the Big 4 college basketball scene.

Stroman, McCrea Big 4 Preseason Players of The Year

Niagara's Kayla Stroman and the University at Buffalo's Javon McCrea took home preseason player of the honors Thursday as the inaugural All-Big Four Basketball Teams were announced at media day.

The teams were selected by members of the media and the athletic communications departments of Canisius, Niagara, St. Bonaventure and the University at Buffalo.

Stroman, a redshirt junior guard, returned to Niagara's lineup last season after missing most of 2010-11 with a knee injury. She led the Purple Eagles in points per game (10.8) assists (124) and steals (81).

McCrea, a junior forward, started all 31 games for the Bulls last season. He followed up his 2011 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year award with a solid sophomore season averaging 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds a game.

Also selected to the Preseason All-Big Four Women's First Team were Lauren Gatto (Niagara), Nytor Longar (Buffalo), Doris Ortega (St. Bonaventure) and Jamie Ruttle (Canisius).

Nabbing second-team honors were CeCe Dixon (St. Bonaventure), Ashley Durham (Canisius), Kayla Hoohuili (Canisius), Meghan McGuinness (Niagara) and Alaina Walker (St. Bonaventure).

Joining McCrea on the Preseason All-Big Four Men's First Team were Demitrius Congar (St. Bonaventure), Juan'ya Green (Niagara), Antoine Mason (Niagara) and Harold Washington (Canisius.)

Second team selections were Billy Baron (Canisius), Alshwan Hymes (Canisius), Charlon Kloof (St. Bonaventure), Jarod Oldham (Buffalo) and Will Regan (Buffalo).

The regular season kicks off on Nov. 9 with a Big 4 women's matchup when Canisius hosts Buffalo in the Koessler Center. Also on Nov. 9, the St. Bonaventure men host Benthune Cookman, the Niagara men play at Oregon State and the Niagara women open at Robert Morris.

The St. Bonaventure women open their season Nov. 10 hosting Binghamton while the Buffalo men host Princeton. 

The Canisius men are the last to open the regular season, hosting Boston University on Nov. 12.

--- Amy Moritz
www.twitter.com/amymoritz 

An Inside Look at Toledo

At the suggestion of Ryan Autullo, Toledo Rockets beat writer for the Toledo Blade, we threw five questions at each other to get the other side's perspective leading up to Saturday's game at UB Stadium.  Here are my questions and his responses:
Q.How important do you think going with one QB has been to Toledo's offense this year? Was it just a matter of gaining some experience before Terrance Owens took the job outright?
A. It's a great question, and I'm afraid I don't have a great answer. In theory, it would make sense that the decision to give one quarterback the job permanently is a positive. Considering Toledo broke in seven new starters elsewhere on offense, familiarity at the leadership position has helped. But to what extent it has made a difference is difficult to say. This was a top 10 offense a year ago under the shared arrangement. I do think that Owens effectively secured the job last year when Austin Dantin suffered a concussion that sidelined him for several games. Owens was excellent in leading his team to three wins and entered the spring as the popular choice. For what it's worth, Toledo might be undefeated had he played the entire game in the opening week of the season at Arizona. He was the more effective quarterback that night but was on the sideline in the fourth quarter and in overtime. He has been the guy ever since, with Dantin being relegated to a very minor role.

Q. Obviously people here keep tabs on David Fluellen. How about some observations as to what has made him so successful. And are you at all surprised by the extent of what he's accomplished this season?
A. I'm not surprised by the ability he has shown because I saw it all spring. He's a strong, shifty back with good enough speed. He was in the shadows of two-time 1000-yard back Adonis Thomas the past two years, so his talents were hidden. What surprises me is how often he is carrying the ball, at 20 times per game. His backfield mate, Cassius McDowell, is getting only about seven touches a game. Frankly, there's no need to give McDowell too many carries right now. Fluellen is as good of a back as there is in the league.

Q. Dan Molls's tackle count is through the roof. UB coach Jeff Quinn says part of that is because the line does such a good job keeping blockers off him. Is that how you see it?
A. Molls leads the nation with 102 tackles and 12.75 stops a game. I agree with Quinn's observation; the line has been decent against the run. But there's more that has gone into it. Molls is always where he needs to be, so he has been able to make open field stops as well as tackles in the passing game. He's not blessed with great speed or great size, but he's the most consistent player on the team.

Q. There aren't too many 32-year-old head football coaches around in the FBS. Elevating Matt Campbell to the position after last season might have raised some eyebrows simply because of the age factor. How important was promoting from within to the team's continuity and its ability to pick up where it left off last season?
A. Promoting from within just for the sake of continuity would have been a mistake. If there was no one on staff ready to be a head coach, Toledo should have opened up the search. But Campbell was ready. I covered him when he was a 27-year-old offensive line coach at Bowling Green, and I heard numerous times from his players that he would one day become a head coach. I didn't think it would be this soon, but he was in a fortuitous position when Tim Beckman left for Illinois. Beckman did an excellent job at Toledo in his three years, but it is becoming apparent that Campbell played a major role in the team's success.

Q. I'm guessing the Cincinnati win created quite a buzz around the city. Where to the Rockets fit in the city's sports fabric, especially now that they're on the verge of a national ranking?
A.You can sense pride growing around here, and it will only intensify if Toledo can crack the top 25 for the first time since 2001. Rankings are a big deal, especially to the casual fan. The Tigers, being in the World Series, have hogged much of the local sports discussion, but Toledo football isn't far behind right now. The atmosphere at the Glass Bowl against Cincinnati was electric.
-- Bob DiCesare

Oliver, Neutz, Lee Probable for Toledo

Running back Bo Oliver and wideouts Alex Neutz and Fred Lee are all probable for Saturday's game against Toledo at UB Stadium.

Oliver and Neutz both wore yellow (no contact) vests Wednesday afternoon but looked fine. Oliver was going pretty close to full speed and cutting hard without any problems.

Oliver (knee) and Lee (wrist) have been out since suffering injuries in the Kent State game on Sept. 19. Neutz (chest) missed last week's game against Pitt after absorbing a hammering hit the previous week against Northern Illinois.

Lee had been expected to remain sidelined another 2-3 weeks but received word Tuesday afternoon that he's cleared to return.

Safety Witney Sherry did not practice and is doubtful. Derek Brim (Canisius) had a big game against Pitt filling in for Sherry.

-- Bob DiCesare

WNY College Sports Chat - 3 p.m.

Review Bob DiCesare's live chat on UB, MAC college football

Mair joins Canisius hockey staff

Former Buffalo Sabre Adam Mair joined the Canisius hockey coaching staff as the program's director of player development. Mair played with the Sabres from 2002-10. In all he played 12 years in the NHL for the Leafs, Kings, Sabres and Devils. With the Golden Griffins, he will work with the coaches on practice and game evaluation. He will also work with individual and team video and scouting.

“It is great for our program to have a former NHL player with over 850 professional games join our staff,” Canisisu coach Dave Smith said in a press release from the college. “Adam’s passion for the game and his interest in helping our program reach the next level is evident on a daily basis. He is a tremendous asset to Canisius College hockey.

“Working with Adam will benefit all of the coaches, as well as Adam, and this will make a win-win situation for everybody involved. Our relationship with the Buffalo Sabres continues to grow and it’s great that we can connect with a former Sabre who chooses to reside in the greater Buffalo area.”

ViewImage

--- Amy Moritz
www.twitter.com/amymoritz

Photo from www.gogriffs.com 

 

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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