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Canisius picks up fourth straight road win

by Amy Moritz

Remember when Canisius started the season just 2-10 on the road?

Yeah, that's not so much the case anymore.

The Ice Griffs dominated the first period of play and finally got some pucks into the net in the second period for a 4-1 win over American International in Springfield, Mass.

That was the fourth-straight road win for the Griffs for the longest road winning streak since the 2000-01 season. Should they win again when the teams meet at 3 p.m. Saturday, it will be the longest road winning streak in program history.

They earned the win thanks to an offensive breakout night from junior Cody Freeman who scored twice in a 97-second span late in the second period. It was the first goal in seven games for Freeman and his first multi-goal game of the season.

Picking up assists on both those goals was Kyle Gibbons. The assists gave him 116 career points moving him into fifth place on the Griffs all-time scoring chart.

A power play goal from Mitch McCrank and a late blast from Braeden Rigney had given the Griffs a four-goal lead.

While the Griffs got into some penalty trouble, senior Tony Capobianco was solid, turning aside 23 shots. His bid for a shutout was spoiled with 51.9 seconds left in the game.

Orchard Park native Josh Kielich picked up his first collegiate point as the freshman had an assist on Rigney's goal.

We heard rumors that there will be post-game video of Freeman. Hopefully he's wearing the yellow construction helmet as the team's player of the game. Should that happen, we'll be sure to update this post.

Update: UConn beat Air Force in Colorado which is good news for the Griffs. Canisius is now just one point back of fouth place in Atlantic Hockey. The top four teams get first-round byes in the playoffs.

The video of Cody Freeman describing his "ugly" goals and talking about the Griffs win. And yes, he's wearing the yellow hard hat. Bonus.

Niagara hockey loses in the final second. Literally.

by Amy Moritz

Hello heartbreak.

Just when it looked like Niagara had turned the corner to make a late-season run in Atlantic Hockey, well, Friday night happens.

The Purple Eagles lost in the final second to Sacred Heart, 4-3, in Milford, Conn.

The momentum from last weekend's sweep of RIT was gone in the first six minutes. Sacred Heart scored twice 30 seconds apart and starter Adrian Ignagni was pulled after just 5:58 of game time.

Niagara tied the game, 2-2, on goals from Tyelr Akeson and a power play tally from Vince Muto, but just 1:03 after Muto's goal, Sacred Heart again pulled ahead, 3-2.

Ryan Rashid tied the game for Niagara midway though the third.

Then came the dealbreaker.

Niagara's Stephen Pietrobon was called for boarding with 1:34 left in regulation. The Pioneers threw six shots on Jackosn Teichroeb on that power play. Then with three seconds left, Brian Sheehan won the faceoff and drew it back to Mitch Nylen who fired a shot over Teichroeb's glove with 0.9 seconds left.

With the loss, Niagara fell to 7-8-3 in conference play. They play Sacred Heart again at 7 p.m. Saturday.

With 17 points, the Purps are in seventh place in Atlantic Hockey, just one point in front of RIT for that final spot for home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Keeping tabs on road weekends for Canisius, Niagara

by Amy Moritz

It's a lonely weekend in Western New York for college hockey with both Canisius and Niagara on the road. But here's the skinny to keep you informed on what's-what as they look to gain momentum, and points, in the Atlantic Hockey kingdom.

Canisius vs. American International
Springfield, Mass., Olympia Ice Center
Friday 7:05/Saturday 3:05

  • Canisius has a 14-game unbeaten streak against AIC, going 12-0-2 since the 2008-09 season.
  • The Ice Griffs started the season 2-10-0 on the road but they've won their last three games away from home. Should they win tonight, it will be the first time the Griffs have won four straight road games since 2000-01.
  • Kyle Gibbons is just nine goals shy of Cory Conacher's career mark of 62 goals.
  • And in cased you missed it, Taylor Law is creating a solid senior season with a new role for himself after missing 39 games the past two seasons with injuries. Law scored twice for the Griffs in a 7-4 win at Mercyhurst last weekend.

Niagara vs. Sacred Heart
Milford, Conn., Milford Ice Pavilion
Friday 7:05 p.m./Saturday 7:05 p.m.

  • Niagara swept RIT in a home-and-home last weekend paced by junior Isaac Kohls who now has 11 points in his last seven games. Kohls scored the first goal in both games against the Tigers and now has 20 points on the season.
  • It's a good bet that Adrian Ignagni will be in goal for the Purps after he had a breakout weekend making 69 saves in the pair of wins.
  • Niagara has won nine of the last 10 meetings with Sacred Heart, outscoring the Pioneers 40-17 in that span.

UB-WMU Game Wrap

UB 84, Western Michigan 63

Why UB Won: If the Bulls have a better offensive game in them, look out. Just about everything clicked, as evidenced by 24 assists on 33 baskets, five players in double figures in scoring and four in double figures in shot attempts. And they didn't settle, scoring 52 points in the paint. Offensively speaking, it was a January masterpiece.

Turning Point: After watching his starters fire away at will early and miss some easy shots Bobby Hurley temporarily benched every one of them. They returned with a renewed focus and pounded it inside to Javon McCrea, who scored 10 of the game's next 12 points.

Player of the Game: The timeliness of his outburst gives McCrea (20 points, six boards) the slightest edge over freshman guard Shannon Evans (17 points, seven assists). But if you want to argue for Evans, I fully understand.

Stat Check: The Bulls made 1 of their first 9 shots and 32 of their next 55, finishing the game at 51.6 percent.

Stat Check II: Point guards Evans and Jarod Oldham combined for 15 assists against just three turnovers.

Stat Check III: Oldham was the primary guard on David Brown and held the MAC scoring leader to 11 points, more than 7 under his average.

Stat Check IV: This was WMU's most lopsided loss since Jan. 9 of last season.

Mending: Guard Jarryn Skeete missed his second straight game (knee).

What It Means: Teams ideally want to finish in the top 2 and bye into the tournament semifinals. Nos. 3 and 4 bye into the quarterfinals. Everyone else has the to win four times to take the title and the NCAA berth (and good luck with that). At 5-2 the Bulls are tied for third with Ohio, a game behind Akron and Toledo.

In the House: Nice student turnout on a frigid night pushed the crowd to 3,052. There's much room for improvement.

What's Next: UB heads to Bowling Green Sunday for a pre-Super Bowl matchup with the Falcons (9-11, 3-4).

Bob DiCesare

UMass-St. Bonaventure game wrap

St. Bonaventure 78, UMass 65

How St. Bonaventure won: The Bonnies rebounded from a poor shooting first half to hit 53.3 percent of their shots and did a fine job bottling up UMass leading scorer Chaz Williams who scored 11 points on 3 of 10 shooting.

Player of the game: Hard to pick just one when you have five players in double figures but let’s go with Charlon Kloof who scored 14 points and did most of the heavy lifting in guarding Williams.

What it means: The Bonnies improved to 13-8 overall, 3-4 in the A-10 and knocked off their first ranked opponent since 2000 when they dropped Temple in the RC. They broke a string of 24 losses against ranked opponents.

Stat check: Dion Wright scored 12 off the bench and Denzel Gregg added eight in 15 minutes.

In the house: 3,881 at the Reilly Center but it sounded more like 38,000.

What’s next: The Bonnies are idle until Feb. 5 when they travel to Richmond for a 7 p.m. game.

---Rodney McKissic

Live blog at 7 p.m.: UMass at St. Bonaventure basketball

Live blog at 7 p.m.: Western Michigan at UB basketball

Review live chat: Biog 4 basketball with Bob DiCesare

Griffs Crack MM Top 25

By Bob DiCesare

It's no surprise Canisius has finally cracked the Mid-Major Top 25. The surprise is that they debut at No. 22, 12 spots behind Manhattan despite leading the Jaspers in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings and sitting three spots higher in the RPIs.

But the Griffs are satisfied that at least they're attracting some notice after winning 8 of their last 11 and maintaining a share of the conference lead with 8 games left on the MAAC schedule.

Wichita State tops the charts, of course, and owns all 31 first-place votes. Among the Big 4 conferences, Toledo is No. 3, Manhattan No. 10, Ohio No. 14 and Akron No. 16. The MAAC has two coaches on the poll, Jimmy Patsos of Siena and Tom Moore of conference  newcomer Quinnipiac. The Mid-American Conference also has a pair: Tod Kowalczyk of Toledo and Steve Hawkins of Western Michigan.

It's been a good week for the Griffs on the publicity front. Billy Baron was named the Lute Olson national mid-major player of the week after totaling 70 points in wins over Niagara and Marist.

The poll:


1. Wichita State (31) 21-0 775 1 Missouri Valley
2. Gonzaga 18-3 740 3 West Coast
3. Toledo 17-2 694 4 Mid-American
4. Green Bay 17-3 641 5 Horizon
5. Harvard 15-3 631 2 Ivy League
6. Indiana State 16-4 630 6 Missouri Valley
7. Stephen F. Austin 18-2 566 7 Southland
8. North Dakota State 15-5 523 10 Summit
9. Princeton 12-3 493 9 Ivy League
10. Manhattan 14-5 489 8 Metro Atlantic
11. Saint Mary's 16-5 466 11 West Coast
12. Mercer 17-5 439 12 Atlantic Sun
13. Northern Colorado 13-4 353 15 Big Sky
14. Ohio 14-5 344 13 Mid-American
15. New Mexico State 15-7 314 16 WAC
16. Akron 13-6 306 17 Mid-American
17. Belmont 16-7 232 23 Ohio Valley
18. UC Irvine 13-8 224 14 Big West
19. UC Santa Barbara 12-6 165 18 Big West
20. Georgia State 14-6 156 25 Sun Belt
21. IPFW 16-6 153 24 Summit
22. Canisius 14-7 71 NR Metro Atlantic
23. Delaware 14-7 67 NR Colonial
24. North Carolina Central 13-5 66 NR MEAC
25. Chattanooga 14-8 61 NR Southern

Notice that Chattanooga also slipped in at No. 25. Former UB player and assistant coach Turner Battle is an assistant with the Mocs.



Ignangi, Muto earn weekly awards for Niagara

by Amy Moritz

The sweep of RIT brought Niagara a pair of weekly honors from Atlantic Hockey.

Freshman goaltender Adrian Ignagni earned the goaltender of the week. He made 29 saves in his first career shutout as Niagara beat RIT on Friday, 3-0. He then turned aside 4- shots in a 5-1 win on Saturday for a weekend total of 69 saves.

Ignagni had struggled a bit lately, but after his performance this weekend, look for him to emerge as the starter for the Purps.

Meanwhile freshman and Niagara Falls native Vince Muto earned rookie of the week honors. He had three assists over the weekend and finished with eight shots and a plus-3 rating. Muto is the top scoring defenseman for Niagara with 11 points (two goals and nine assists).

Niagara plays at Sacred Heart this weekend.

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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 |