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Goodwin snags conference honors for Buffalo State

by Amy Moritz

Junior forward Kara Goodwin earned All-ECAC West honorable mention after helping the Buffalo State women's hockey team to its first playoff appearance since 2007-08.

Goodwin leads the Bengals with 15 goals and 21 points in 25 games. She recorded 16 points in the last 10 games of the regular season.

Buffalo State meets Oswego at 3 p.m. Saturday in the ECAC West quarterfinals. Should they win they advance to play at No. 1 Plattsburgh next Saturday.

Schedule Out: UB-Baylor on ESPN

By Bob DiCesare

Five appearances on ESPN channels including a Friday night home game against Baylor on “the big screen” highlight the 2014 UB football schedule released today.

The Bulls will be looking for a more competitive result when they entertain Baylor on Sept. 12 at UB Stadium in a game set for broadcast on ESPN. The Bears walloped UB, 70-13, in Waco, Texas, last season en route to the Big 12 championship and the distinction of being the nation’s highest-scoring offense. A number of key players on that team are NFL-bound however quarterback and NFL prospect Bryce Petty returns.

UB also landed a trio of weekday Mid-American Conference East Division games on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. It will visit Ohio on Wed. Nov. 5 then return home to face Akron on Tues. Nov. 11 and Kent State on Wed. Nov. 19. The season concludes with the traditional Black Friday finish, this time at UMass. That will be aired on either ESPNU or ESPN 3.

The TV appearances are indicative of program perceived as on the rise. UB went 8-5 last season and played in the second bowl game in school history, a 49-24 loss to San Diego State in the Great Idaho Potato Bowl. However, there are major holes to fill with the graduation of five first-team all-MAC performers -- linebacker and MAC Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, running back Branden Oliver, wideout Alex Neutz, guard Jasen Carlson and defensive back Najja Johnson.

 The schedule contains a couple of oddities. As earlier reported, the Bulls will play seven home games, two of them against FCS teams, and only one of those can count toward the six-win mandate for bowl eligibility. UB opens against Duquesne on Aug. 30 and welcomes Norfolk State to UB Stadium on Sept. 20. Also, because of the season’s late start and early finish UB will experience two bye weekends within a three-week span. The Bulls are off the weekend of Oct. 18, play Central Michigan at home on Oct. 25 and then are off again the weekend of Nov. 1.

The schedule:

 Sat. Aug. 30   vs. Duquesne

Sat. Sept. 6    at Army

Fri. Sept. 12    vs Baylor

Sat Sept. 20 vs. Norfolk State

Sat Sept. 27  vs Miami

Sat. Oct. 4    at Bowling Green

Sat. Oct. 11  at Eastern Michigan

Sat. Oct. 25  vs. Central Michigan

Wed. Nov. 5  at Ohio, 8 p.m.

Tues. Nov. 11  vs. Akron, 8 p.m.

Wed. Nov. 19   vs Kent State, 8 p.m.

Fri. Nov. 28     at UMass

All other start times are to be determined.

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

Integrating family and hockey at Canisius

by Amy Moritz

It's a weekend fille with "senior days" when hockey programs honor their student-athletes playing in their last regular season home game.

But it's also a chance to honor the families who have been integrated into the program.

Take the Sullivans for example.

The family of Canisius senior forward Patrick Sullivan has hosted the Ice Griffs for Thanksgiving (the American version, not the Canadian one) for the past few years.

"It’s awesome," Sullivan said. "My parents love having the guys over, and all the members of the team. Doing that brings I think a little ease of mind to my parents that I'm around such good guys and great character people. Overall it’s just been good for my family and my team coming together as one." 

Sullivan is one of seven seniors for Canisius and the only Western New Yorker in the graduating class.

The hometown feel has been appreciated by Sullivan who accidentally spent a year of junior hockey in Alaska.

As for Canisius hockey, the integration of the players' families into the program has been a cornerstone to developing the program and building success.

"It's my ninth year here and eight of the nine years we’ve had at least one local player," Canisius coach Dave Smith said. "That is a piece of it. Families are a piece of not only our program, it’s one of the pillars of our culture. The way that our families interact with each other and interact with the players is really imporatant.

"It is one big environment here and I think that plays into the comfort level on and off the ice I think just like any family there’s a lot of great days and then there’s challenging days, but you get through it together. I think Pat went away for junior hcokey and coming back and having his family integrate into our program has been a special experience for the Sullivans and for the guys who get to be part of it."

Buffalo State men's and women's hockey make playoff push

by Amy Moritz

For the third straight year the Buffalo State men's hockey team will make an appearance in the conference semifinals after the Bengals earned a 7-2 win over Brockport Wednesday night.

The Bengals exploded for five goals in the second period to earn the quarterfinal win in the SUNYAC playoffs and improve to 10-11-5.

Nick Berst (Lancaster) and Dan Turgeon each scored two goals while Kevin Carr made 28 saves.

Buffalo State travels to top-seeded Geneseo for the semifinals at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Bengals are looking for their first trip to the SUNYAC title game.

Meanwhile the Buffalo State women will make their first playoff appearance in six years as the Bengals earned the No. 6 seed for the ECAC West playoffs. The Bengals will play at No. 3 Oswego Saturday in the quarterfinals.

Under first-year coach Candice Moxley, the Bengals improved throughout the season. Through the first 15 games the team scored 12 goals and allowed 74. Over the final 10 games, that gap closed dramatically as the Bengals scored 22 goals and gave up just 28.

Live chat at 2 p.m.: Big 4 College Basketball with Bob DiCesare

Buffalo State hockey readies for home playoff game

by Amy Moritz

It's already playoff hockey time for the Division III schools and Buffalo State opens its fourth-straight SUNYAC playoff bid with a home game.

The No. 4 Bengals host No. 5 Brockport at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the quarterfinal round.

Buffalo State went 6-6-4 in conference play to earn the home game and has a 9-11-5 overall record heading into playoffs. Brockport went 7-8-1 in the league and is 10-12-3 overall.

The winner travels to top-seeded Geneseo for the semifinals on Saturday.

Dan Turgeon, a junior transfer from Monroe Community College, leads the Bengals offensively with 10 goals and 25 points. Senior Mike Zannella has 20 points (seven goals) while freshman Taylor Pryce has 19 points (six goals).

Senior Kevin Carr has played every game in net for the Bengals and has set nearly all of the program's single season and career goaltending records. This year he has a 2.62 goals against average with a .927 save percentage.

For head coach (and former Niagara standout) Nick Carrier, it is his ninth playoff appearance with Buffalo State. 

Canisius-Fairfield Game Wrap

Canisius 90, Fairfield 78

How Canisius Won: Recent opponents have been shredding the Canisius defense at the KAC. Manhattan did it. Iona. Quinnipiac. And Fairfield was on the same track after a 57 percent first-half shooting effort. So the number that stands out it what the Stags shot after intermission: 29 percent. Would it have been different if point guard KJ Rose hadn't been ejected? Maybe so. But you have to play the hand you're dealt.

Turning Point: The Griffs trailed by four when Jordan Heath was called for an offensive foul with 14:22 left. Bodies tangled. A skirmish ensued. Rose was ejected to his overzealous actions during during the scuffle. Billy Baron made 5 of 6 free throws to Fairfield's two and the Griffs took the lead for good soon after.

Player of the Game: Baron made just two field goals, both first-half threes. But he finished with a team-high 22 points with a 16-for-18 showing at the foul line. And he handed out nine assists, his second-highest total of the season. Funny how drastically he impacts a game when it seems like he's not impacting the game.

Best Supporting Role: Freshman guard Zach Lewis found his stroke, going 4 of 6 from three, 7 of 8 from the line and scoring 21 points. And he did it on an afternoon when Canisius needed him to do it.

Stat Check: The Griffs went 26 of 36 from the foul line in the second half alone. They were 29 of 40 for the game.

What It Means: Canisius is tied for third with Manhattan with two games left -- at Rider and at Manhattan. The Griffs can finish no worse than fourth.

In the House: Billy the Kid's among four seniors playing their final regular-season home game and it's not a sellout???? The attendance checked in at 1,909.

-- Bob DiCesare



The Mercyhurst-Canisius hockey connection: An update

by Amy Moritz

Yesterday's road trip down to Erie, Pa., gave us a chance to catch up with Michael Sisti, the Mercyhurst women's hockey coach and a 1990 graduate of Canisius College.

Sisti spent three years as an assistant coach for the Ice Griffs before taking a job as an assistant men's coach at Meryhurst. He was named the head coach of the women's program in 1999 and has been the only coach in that program's 15-year history, which includes a national record of nine straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Not only is Sisti an Ice Griff alum, he also knows current Canisius coach Dave Smith who was an assistant ih the Lakers' men's program from 2002-05.

So what was it like for Sisti to watch the Griffs earn their first Atlantic Hockey championship and make their first NCAA appearance and the growth of the program?

"That was tough because I work (at Mercyhurst) and we pull for our men’s team but after they were eliminated we want Dave and Canisius to do well," Sisti said. "Brian Cavanaugh was a great builder of that program and now it’s nice to see Dave do well and the team do well and the new rink should be awesome. All my family is still in Buffalo so it is good to see.

"And there too, that league (Atlantic Hockey) has grown and has made all the teams in the league better which is good to see and hopefully the same thing can happen on the women's side."


Live blog at 7 p.m.: Robert Morris 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 |

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 |