by Amy Moritz
The season-opening road trip for Canisius hockey continues this weekend as the Golden Griffins are in Oxford, Ohio for a pair of games against No. 6 Miami. The teams play tonight (7:35) and Saturday (7:05).
It's the third time in five games that the Griffs will face a nationally-ranked opponent. They opened the season with a loss at then-No. 20 Niagara and are coming off a solid 4-1 win at No. 17 Denver. (The Pioneers fell out of the top 20 this week, thanks to Canisius.)
Miami has a 4-0 advantage in the all-time series and has outscored the Griffs, 23-3, in those games. But the teams have not met since 2007.
A look at the RedHawks
Miami was ranked third last week and fell to No. 6 after going 0-1-1 at Providence. The RedHawks (3-2-2 overall) have two of the top goal scorers in the country. Sophomore Riley Barber is tied for the national lead with 12 points (eight goals, four assists) whie junior Austin Czarnik has 11 points (three goals, eight assists.) The pair help anchor a Miami offense which is scoring 4.33 goals a game.
Gibbons closing in on 100
Senior Kyle Gibbons has a point in 13-straight games (dating back to last season) and is now just five point shy of the century mark. Seven other Griffs have scored 100 career points in the Division I era. Fun fact: With his hometown listed as Westlake, Ohio, Gibbons is the only Ohio native on the Canisius roster.
Danford directs power play
Senior Ben Danford already has five assists on the season (that's an assist on half the Griffs' goals for those scoring at home) with all of them coming via special teams. He has three assists on the power play, one on a delayed penalty call and the other on a short-handed goal against Niagara. His 1.67 points per game ranks first nationally for defenders and Danford already owns the program record for most points by a defenseman (57).
Special teams as accounted for six of the Griffs 10 goals this season -- four on the power play and two short-handed. The Griffs power play ranks 10th in the country (4-for-15, 26.6 percent).
Niagara enjoys a bye week
The Purple Eagles (1-4-1) are off this weekend. Niagara lost at Denver and Air Force last weekend. They play at Ohio State on Nov. 8-9.
Atlantic Hockey in the polls
Both Niagara and Canisius dropped out of the "others receiving votes" category in latest USCHO.com national poll. Air Force is the only Atlantic Hockey team still getting votes as the Falcons are 4-2-0 overall and 2-0-0 in conference play. Air Force is at RIT tonight and at Mercyhurst Saturday.