by Amy Moritz
Tuesday night belonged to Kyle Gibbons and his 100-point milestone.
But don't lose sight of another key factor for Canisius -- its penalty killing unit.
Last year, the penalty kill was record-setting for the Golden Giffins as their 90.1 percent efficiency ranked as the 11th-best mark in NCAA history. This season, they stumbled, giving up a power play goal in each of their first seven games for just a 68.8 percent success rate.
But it started to turn around against Mercyhurst when Canisius killed off a five minute major at the end of the game to preserve a 4-3 win over the Lakers. And the unit has rolled since then, killing off the last 13 power play attempts for opponents. What's finally clicked?
"We had a great PK last year and I think for a moment there our guys, including the goalies, just forgot how hard it is to be a man down," said senior goaltender Tony Capobianco. "Just how hard you have to work to get in shot lanes, block shots and for the goalie to control your rebound and make it easier for the guys in front of you. Definitley being more aggressive has helped us."
Capobianco made some key saves in Tuesday's 5-2 win over RIT to end his 0-5-0 start to the season. It was a shaky start after he set program records last season in saves, save percentage, shutouts and wins.
"The first three or four games were kind of sloppy for my part," the senior said. "I definitely wasn't happy with my performances. I felt like I was letting the team down. Last weekend at Ohio State I felt like I gave the team a chance to win. I felt like I was getting my sharpness back."
"He's had to work at it," Canisius coach Dave Smith said. "It's more fun when it just comes naturally, but he's worked really hard and I thought at the end of the game he was that confident Capo we saw last year."