by Amy Moritz
It's a big conference weekend for Niagara and Canisius with both teams on the road for Atlantic Hockey matchups.
Senior goaltender Tony Capobianco has regained his form from last year after a slow start. In his last four games, he has a 1.72 goals against average and a .945 save percentage. In his first four games, he had a 4.79 goals against average and a .879 save percentage.
The rest of the senior class is stepping up as well. Kyle Gibbons is now two goals shy of 50 for his career while Ben Danford has a team-best eight assists.
"We have a veteran team so it's not as much about Xs and Os as it is about role acceptance and putting team first," Canisius coach Dave Smith said. "Everyone wants success and those things seem to be coming together nicely. We'll have a challenge in West Point. We know what Army is capable of physically and we've got to be on the top of our game."
The Black Knights are 2-7-0 in Atlantic Hockey with its last game a 4-3 overtime win over American International.
Niagara meanwhile travels to Connecticut for games with the Huskies tonight (7 p.m.) and Saturday (4 p.m.).
The Purple Eagles are still looking for their first road win of the season. They're coming off a 4-2 loss at No. 15 Cornell, where coach Dave Burkholder felt his team played its best game of the season.
Freshmen goaltenders Jackson Teichroeb and Adrian Ignagni have been battling for the No. 1 spot. (For the record, Burkholder said neither one has emerged yet as the top goalie.) And the Purps biggest weakness has been its defense.
"We’ve been working and we’ve gotten a lot better with our D-zone coverage, but it’s actually been our backchecking that's the problem," Burkholder said. "We’ll have freeze frames on video where we have five Niagara players in the picture and the other team is still making plays through our five guys. So we’re back, which is great. It shows a strong work ethic, but we’re not playing smart. That's been an issue with us and we think we’ve gotten a lot better."
UConn, in its last season with Atlantic Hockey before moving to Hockey East, is tied with Niagara and Canisius for fourth place in the conference standings. All three teams have seven points.