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Murphy pleads not guilty

by Amy Moritz

Ryan Murphy, a senior on the Niagara hockey team, pled not guilty in Lewiston Town Court Wednesday night to a series of charges stemming from an accident on Sept. 29.

Murphy was charged with DWI first offense, imprudent speed and failure to keep right. He is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 30.

Murphy was suspended by the hockey team until Jan. 13, 2014 for "violations to the Niagara University student code of conduct and the athlete code of conduct." He will miss 18 games with the suspension. 

The senior was the leading scorer for the Purple Eagles last year with 36 points as Niagara earned an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament.

Niagara is 0-2 on the season and hosts Canisius at 7 p.m. Saturday in Dwyer Arena.

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Striggles to Miss a Half

By Bob DiCesare

Defensive back Dwellie Striggles will sit out the first half of Saturday's game at Western Michigan for his participation in an altercation and disqualification from UB's game against Eastern Michigan.
Okoye Houston and Tomarris Bell, also DQ'd, escaped further disciplinary action as secondary participants.

"The ejections have been addressed with the MAC office, Danny White, myself," coach Jeff Quinn said. "Dwellie Striggles will sit out the first half of this upcoming weeks game against Western Michigan but will play. No further action will be taking place with Okoye Houston and Tomarris Bell.

Zordich Status Up in Air

By Bob DiCesare

UB backup quarterback Alex Zordich did not participate in today's practice after suffering a concussion during Saturday's 42-14 victory over Eastern Michigan at UB Stadium. Zordich came on for starter Joe Licata late in the third quarter of the lopsided victory and played two series before giving way to Tony Daniel.

Bulls coach Jeff Quinn said Zordich is feeling better and can't be ruled out for Saturday's game at Western Michigan. However, typically a player has to be symptom-free for a week before being cleared.

Meanwhile, running back Anthone Taylor is practicing again after serving a two-game suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules.

UB's Clarke: Confidence Unshaken

By Bob DiCesare

UB kicker Patrick Clarke already has missed more field goals through five games than all of last season. But he equates his situation to the mentality of a golfer who hits a shot that doesn't come off quite right: Forget about that one and hit the next.

"Just taking it one kick at a time," Clarke said after practice Tuesday. "We've had a lot of 40-plus-yard field goals this season. So I just have to take it a kick at a time. Obviously I'm not happy with myself. I feel that's inexcusable. I have to do my job but it's just taking it a kick at a time."

Clarke has made four of nine attempts on the season, with four of the misses coming between 40 and 49 yards. He made four of five from that range last year while going 11 of 15 overall. On the plus side, none of his misses have ended up costing the Bulls and his makes include a 49- and career-best 50-yarder against UConn.

"Most of them have been really close," said Clarke of the misses. "I think a lot of it's just a matter of taking the right line because in this stadium sometimes the winds kind of swirl a little bit. Even if there doesn't seem like there's much wind there's still a little bit to push it so I just got to make sure my line's right every time and just take a deep breath and take it a kick at a time. I know if I do that I can make every single kick."

Canisius-Penn State placed on ice

By Rodney McKissic

The Canisius men’s hockey program’s hopes of opening the season at Penn State fell through on Tuesday when Army confirmed its game against the Nittany Lions will be played as scheduled.

The federal government shutdown placed Friday night’s game between Army and Penn State in doubt and the Nittany Lions – who were hosting their first game in the $102 million Pegula Ice Arena – sought out Canisius as a possible replacement, according to Canisius.

It seemed like a natural fit as Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula has ties to both schools. Pegula also funded the HarborCenter, currently being constructed across the street from First Niagara Center, which will be the official home for the Golden Griffins beginning in Sept. 2014.

Nittany Lions officials contacted Canisius late last week to see if there was interest in being the first opponent in the new facility, and the Golden Griffins were granted a special waiver by the NCAA Tuesday morning that would allow the program to add a 35th game to their schedule. NCAA rules limit hockey programs to 34 regular season games.

But Canisius learned Tuesday afternoon that Army will be able to play in the game, according to Canisius athletic department spokesman Matt Reinhour. Canisius opens its season Saturday against at Dwyer Arena against rival Niagara University.


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Murphy suspended by Niagara hockey

by Amy Moritz

Ryan Murphy, a senior forward for the Niagara hockey team, will be arraigned in Lewiston Town Court Wednesday on charges stemming from an accident on Sept. 29. Murphy has been suspended from the team until Jan. 13.

According to a post on the Lewiston Police Department's Facebook page, a 24-year old male was arrested for driving while intoxicated and other vehicle and traffic violations after a two-car accident on Lewiston Hill. Niagara County Sheriffs confirmed that Murphy was the driver. 

"For violations to the Niagara University student code of conduct and the athlete code of conduct, Ryan has been suspended by the Niagara University men's hockey team until Jan. 13, 2014," Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. "This suspension, which covers over 50 percent of the 2013-14 season, is effective today. The expectation is that Ryan will continue as a student at Niagara with plans to rejoin the team for the second half of the season." 

Murphy did not play in the Purple Eagles' opening weekend against Clarkson. On Saturday night, Niagara said Murphy had taken a personal leave for undisclosed reasons. He led Niagara with 36 points last season as the Purple Eagles won the regular season Atlantic Hockey title and earned an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament.

Murphy will sit out 18 games, not including last weekend, while serving the suspension.

Live blog at noon: Eastern Michigan at UB

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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 |

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 |