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Buffalo State hockey earns conference honors for men, women

by Amy Moritz

It was a big week for Buffalo State hockey and in case you missed it, both the Bengals men's and women's team picked up weekly conference honors.

On the women's side, senior Kara Goodwin was named the ECAC West Player of the Week after scoring four goals with an assist in two wins over Cortland. The wins were the first two of the season for the Bengals.

Senior goalie Jordan Lee made the weekly honor making 28 saves in the team's 5-2 win on Friday and ahd 30 saves in a 3-2 win on Saturday.

Buffalo State plays at No. 3 Elmira this weekend.

On the men's side senior Mike Zannella was the SUNYAC Player of the Week and senior Kevin Carr was the conference goalie of the week after the Bengals went 2-0 including earning the program's first ever win over SUNYAC rival and 10th-ranked Oswego.

Zannella has six goals and 18 points for the Bengals while Carr made 33 saves in the upset over Oswego.

The Bengals close out the regular season with five straight road games.

Recap of big weekend for WNY college hockey

by Amy Moritz

So about Saturday night. We've finally caught our breath, had some time to recoup after another snowstorm drive to Rochester (please Niagara and RIT, can you play a game without a winter storm warning just once?) and in case you missed it, here's what happened in the world of WNY college hockey this weekend:

Canisius knocks off Mercyhurst: Thursday night the Ice Griffs blew a late 1-0 lead and an empty net goal gave Mercyhurst a 3-1 win. It was a quality college hockey game and the Griffs had a better effort against the top team in Atlantic Hockey which made the result disappointing. "Opportunity lost" seemed to be morphing into the descriptive phrase of the Canisius season.

But then came Saturday night and the Griffs went to Erie and this time came back from a 3-1 deficit to upset the Lakers, 7-4. In their barn.

Say what?

So chew on this:

  • The Griffs are the only team in Atlantic Hockey to beat the Lakers. Merychurst is 1-2-0 against Canisius and 11-0-3 against the rest of the league.
  • Kyle Gibbons now has 53 career goals, nine behind the record set by Cory Conacher.
  • Taylor Law scored twice for the Griffs in the win. The senior has missed 39 games with injuries over the last two seasons.

Niagara dominates RIT: Eight of the last 10 meetings between the Purps and RIT have gone to overtime. So of course both of these games ... were blowouts? Niagara was solid in a 3-0 win at Dwyer on Friday and then dominated the scoreboard on Saturday in a 5-1 win at Ritter Arena in Rochester.

Just when you thought the Purps were in a position to coast to the end of the season, they come up with big performances in one of their most heated rivalries.

We're not ready to say that Adrian Ignagni is the starting goaltender but the freshman had a heck of a weekend for Niagara. He made 29 saves in for his first collegiate shutout Friday and came back with an impressive 40-save performance on Saturday. He looked poise and in control all weekend, something the Purps have lacked in goal this season.

Offensively Niagara is led by junior Isaac Kohls. With a crisp shot and an aggressive attack of the net, he now has points in six of his last seven games and scored three goals this weekend. Watch for him to heat up as the season gets into the nitty gritty.

Remember: Teams can get hot late and roll into the conference tournament with confidence and end up in the NCAA tournament. (See: Canisius 2013).

Huge win for Buffalo State: And let's not forget our Division III teams. The Buffalo State men's team upset No. 11 Oswego, 4-0, on Saturday, It was the first win ever for the Bengals over Oswego. Kevin Carr made 33 saves in the shutout while the Bengals scored four second period goals for the win. Buffalo State closes out the regular season with four road games and stands at 6-3-2 in SUNYAC play and 9-8-3 overall.

 

Baron and Beyond

By Bob DiCesare

Sat next to a scout from the San Antonio Spurs Sunday but he didn't give up much when I asked about Billy Baron's NBA prospects. So postgame I turned to Marist first-year coach Jeff Bower, who spent 15 years with the Charlotte Hornets in such capacities as GM and coach. Here's what he had to say when I asked him about Baron:

"I think he's terrific as a player now. I think the way he plays the game are things that a lot of teams will really like. I never plot a guy at this time of year honestly because you don't know the draft and you don't know how many people are going to be involved in it.

"But I know this: He's a winner. He's got skills. He's got size. He's got deep shooting ability. He's got play-making ability. And he is a competitor. And I know those are all qualities that every NBA team would value and will do their research and see. When it's all said and done I would expect him to be rated or ranked ahead of a lot of guys. I think he's the type of kid that helps your team and is going to have the poise to compete and help a team.

"It's too early, honestly. The people that are talking now are usually guys that aren't involved in decision-making that are saying where people are going. But he would be a guy that a lot of people are excited about and would want to dig very deep to find out about in my opinion."

Canisius-Marist Game Wrap

Canisius 78, Marist 65

How Canisius Won: Griffs had trouble with the Marist press early on, committing five turnovers in a flash. And they stumbled against it a bit in the second half as well. But both times they stablized and in the end shot 47 percent from the floor once they were able to run some offense.

Player of the Game: If Billy Baron cared only about Billy Baron there's no telling how many ponts he could have scored in this one. He had 25 at the half. But he finish with "just" 38 because he's all about trying to win this conference and he knows that isn't happening unless Canisius continues to develop into a well-rounded team. So he scored "only" 13 after intermission to tie his career high of 38. He was 12 of 23 from the field, 5 of 11 from three and 9 of 10 from the line.

What It Means: The Griffs improved to 14-7 overall, 8-2 in the MAAC and retained a share of the conference lead. Marist is 6-14, 3-7.

Stat Check: Canisius went 24 of 28 from the line and has made over 80 percent of its foul shots each of the last three games.

Stat Check II: Chris Perez has scored in double figures four straight games after a 4 for 18 slump that saw him total 16 points in three games.

In the House: I've heard the stories of how they had overflow crowds at ECC for Calvin Murhpy's freshman games. Baron's playing close to that level but times have changed. There were 1,742 at the KAC Sunday, about 400 under capacity. 

What's Next: The Griffs visit conference newcomer Quinnipiac at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Bobcats (7-3 MAAC) finished off a season-sweep of preseason favorite Manhattan with Sunday's OT win and lead the country in rebounding.

##

Live blog at 2 p.m.: Marist at Canisius basketball

Live blog at 7 p.m.: Niagara at RIT hockey

Niagara-Marist Game Wrap

Niagara 80, Marist 74

How Niagara Won: 1) The nation's leading scorer caught fire with the game on the line. 2) By drastically turning the rebounding tables in the second half. 3) By scoring 11 second-chance points after intermission.

Turning Point: The game was sitting there waiting to be had when Antoine Mason shifted into gear and made 3s with 6:45 left, 3:46 left and 2:59 on the clock. And Niagara's leads went to 60-56, 67-60 and 70-61.

Player of the Game: Marist junior Chavaughn Lewis had the primary guard on Mason most of the night and held him to 6 of 18 shooting from the field. Meanwhile, Lewis also scored a game-high 25 points, shot 10 of 16 and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. That's a pretty good night's work right there.

Stat Check: Marist shot 52.8 percent from the field, 41.2 percent from behind the arc and just 50 percent (11 of 22) from the foul line. Go figure.

Stat Check II: Niagara guard Marvin Jordan (18 points) is 14 of 24 from the field the last two games after a three-game skid where he was 3 of 20.

Stat Check III: First half rebounding: Marist 21-9 and 7-1 at the offensive end. Second half rebounding: Niagara 18-10 and 8-4 on the offensive end. Niagara big man Marcus Ware had all three of his offensive boards in the second half and went to the line 13 times on the night, making 10.

What It Means: Niagara rid itself of a two-game losing streak and improved to 6-15 overall and 3-7 in the MAAC. Marist is 6-13, 3-6.

Still Missing: Niagara point guard Tahjere McCall sat out a second straight game with that tongue laceration suffered in practice Tuesday. He remains day to day. 

In the House: Taps welcomed 1,250 into its warm confines on a night when basketball went head-to-head with hockey on Monteagle Ridge.

Next Up: Niagara hits the road for games at Siena on Thursday and a rematch with Marist on Saturday. The Red Foxes play at Canisius at 2 p.m. Sunday before heading back to Poughkeepsie.

Bob DiCesare

Live blog at 7 p.m.: Marist at Niagara basketball

Game notes: Home and home series for Niagara-RIT

 

Niagara_FrozenFrontier
The last time Niagara and RIT played was at Frozen Frontier.


by Amy Moritz

When last we saw Niagara and RIT the teams were skating to a 2-2 tie at Frozen Frontier.

No surprise there. Eight of the last 11 games between the two teams have gone into overtime. In the Division I era the Tigers have just one win over Niagara as the Purple Eagles hold a 10-1-7 advantage. (That's right, in the DI era the teams have tied SEVEN times.)

It's a home-and-home weekend with tonight's game at Dwyer Arena nationally televised on CBS Sports Network. The teams play at Ritter Arena in Rochester Saturday. Both games start at 7:05.

Stay out of the box: The key for Niagara will be staying out of the penalty box. The Purps got caught up in how the game was being called last Saturday in a 3-2 home loss to Holy Cross.

"There’s probably a five-minute segment of the second period, including myself, I stood in front of the team and took some blame myself, where we were worried about the wrong thing," Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. "We had seven minor penalties and six were bad penalties. You’re not going to win doing that. They’re just undisciplined, slashing away from the play, stupid stuff that needs to stop. ...We beat ourselves. And that can’t happen. I'm glad it happened in January and not come playoff time. We’re a better team to have gone through that experience."

Night of Champions: It's the last season for RIT at the famed Ritter Arena. The program is moving into the 4,200-seat Gene Polisseni Center on campus next season and to celebrate the Tigers' history at Ritter, the program will honor members of the 1983 and 1985 NCAA Division III National Championship teams. It will be an interesting night for Burkholder, who was the goaltender for RIT's 1983 team.

Who to watch: Junior Isaac Kohls is having a solid season on a struggling Niagara team. Kohls leads the Purps in scoring with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) and has been one of the highest energy impact players for the team in recent weeks.

Live blog at 7 p.m.: Mercyhurst at Canisius hockey

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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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