February 21, 2014 - 10:41 AM
by Amy Moritz
It's the penultimate weekend in the Atlantic Hockey regular season and there's plenty for Niagara and Canisius to play for in their respective home-and-home series. Both are still mathematically in the hunt for fourth place -- the final spot among the first-round byes for the Atlantic Hockey tournament. If the bye doesn't happen, both are in position to host a first-round series, as long as they take care of their own end of things in the last four games.
Niagara at Mercyhurst
The Purple Eagles are coming off a disappointing 5-0 loss to Robert Morris and this weekend tackle league-leading Mercyhurst. Niagara is 5-1-2 in its last eight games and focused on finishing the regular season strong, learning the lessons of last year's limp into the playoffs which cost them a tournament championship.
Look for some line shuffling and for the top trio of Isaak Kohls, Ryan Rashid and Hugo Turcotte to be split up. They have just two goals (with one an empty netter) in the last four games.
"If they were just spinning their tires and not getting anything done or getting us momentum then that would be a problem," Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. "But I just think it’s time for us to reshuffle and we will, we are, this week. We’re going to try and come up with some different combinations and see if we can come up with some magic in these last four games and playoffs."
The teams play tonight in Erie (7 p.m.) and Saturday in Dwyer Arena (7 p.m.) I'll be live at the Mercyhurst Ice Rink tonight with live blog updates.
Canisius at Robert Morris
It's the same set up as last year. The Ice Griffs finished off the regular season with two games against Robert Morris then two games against RIT. Last year, they were swept by Robert Morris. That stung, but set them up for a magical run. They came back to sweep RIT and start a winning streak that took the Griffs to their first NCAA tournament.
"We got pretty hot around this time last year," Canisius senior captain Ryan Bohrer said. "We definitely believe in our guys and that we can do the same thing. We’ve been playing better. We just haven’t played great back-to-back nights. We think we’re close.
"I think it was the same exact set up last year. We played Robert Morris, got swept and the next weekend we played RIT and swept them. We’re hoping to start a weekend earlier this year but we definitely believe we can do the same thing we did last year."
The Griffs are in Pittsburgh tonight and return to Buffalo for a 7 p.m. faceoff with the Colonials Saturday at Buffalo State Ice Arena.
February 20, 2014 - 1:02 PM
February 20, 2014 - 1:00 PM
February 20, 2014 - 12:59 AM
UB 96, Akron 90
How UB Won: Just don't see how it's possible for the Bulls to play a better offensive game. They shot 63.3 percent from the field against a quality defensive team. They had 21 assists on 38 field goals, including a career-high eight by Javon McCrea. Four players hit double figures and three went for 20 or more. They only turned it over eight times, and two of those came in the opening few minutes. It was reminiscent of when they thrashed Western Michigan, 84-63, at the end of January. When the Bulls get rolling it's a sight to behold.
What it Means: Vital victory that ties UB with Akron atop the East and puts the Bulls back in the top four in the overall standing. A slip in this one with three of the last five on the road would have strained their chances of avoiding the long road to Cleveland. Odds are they'll still need to win at either Kent, Akron or Ohio.
Player of the Game: Javon McCrea is having just a monster second half to his second season. The latest: 20 points, 13 boards, eight assists and three blocks. He's down to 20 points away from becoming the UB's all-time leading scorer. And since he's never been fond of Kent State, doubtless he wouldn't mind doing on Saturday so long as it comes in UB's first-ever road win over the Golden Flashes.
Player of the Game, Losing Effort: Zips forward Demetrius Treadwell must be the best power forward in the conference outside McCrea. He had 21-7-4.
Extenuating Circumstances: The Zips were without forwards Nick Harney (suspended) and Reggie McAdams. Sharpshooter Jake Kretzer suffered a four-stitch cut and a concussion in a second-half collision with Justin Moss's elbow. And the Zips showed UB little of their zone. The rematch March 4 in Akron will be interesting.
Stat Check: UB guards -- Josh Freelove, Jarod Oldham, Jarryn Skeete and Shannon Evans -- combined to go 22 of 31 from the field. That is just sick.
Finishing: UB got lax offensively in the Ohio loss, taking a few shots that probably weren't in their best interests. This time when Akron made its runs, the Bulls attacked the rim. They totaled 54 points in the paint.
Stat Check II: UB's 63.3 percent shooting night ranks fifth in the D-I era.
In the House: Attendance has been picking up. The Bulls went over 5,000 for Ohio Saturday and followed up with 3,579 Wednesday.
-- Bob DiCesare
February 19, 2014 - 2:01 PM
February 19, 2014 - 12:09 PM
by Amy Moritz
Canisius forward Kyle Gibbons was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the honor focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in the community.
Gibbons, a native of Westlake, Ohio, was the MVP of the Atlantic Hockey tournament last year, leading the Ice Griffs to their first NCAA tournament appearance.
He ranks fourth in the school’s Division I history with 121 career points and second with 55 career goals, just seven behind all-time leader Cory Conacher who, as it happens, was the last Ice Griff to be named a finalist for this award.
This season, Gibbons leads Canisius with 29 points, 13 goals and eight power-play tallies.
The finance major has a 3.50 grade point average. Gibbons is also active within the Buffalo community, volunteering with Hasek’s Heroes, the Food Bank of Western New York and Canisius Community Days.
Fan votes combine with votes from the media and Division I head coaches to determine the winner. The nationwide voting is open now through March 31 and fans can cast their online ballots at the Senior CLASS Award website.
The finalists also include Sam Brittain (Denver), Greg Carey (St. Lawrence), Scott Czarnowczan (Ferris State), Brock Higgs (RPI), Cole Ikkala (Union), Andy Iles (Cornell), Dennis Robertson (Brown), Ryan Walters (Nebraska Omaha) and Matt Zarbo (Clarkson).
February 18, 2014 - 1:30 PM
February 18, 2014 - 9:25 AM
by Amy Moritz
The regular season comes to an end this weekend in collegiate women's hockey and over in Hockey East it's a showdown between classic rivals Boston University and Boston College.
The rivalry between the two schools on the men's side is legendary and it's pretty intense on the women's side, too.
But this year, there's a different twist.
It's also a bit of USA vs. Canada.
Boston University has three players on the Canadian Olympic team while Boston College has three players on Team USA.
So the showdown between Boston College, which is tops in Hockey East at 25-5-3 overall, and Boston University, second in the conference at 21-10-1 overall, in a way begins with the Olympic gold medal game Thursday.
“We’ve already locked up 1-2 in the conference so this is more of a practice run to see how we can do,” said BU assistant coach Allison Coomey, who played and coached at Niagara. “There’s definitely a rivalry there. We have one kid with the US team and they have one with Team Canada so we also have a bit of a US-Canada rivalry in a ot of ways. Our kids get along with their kids really well so it’s really a positive competitive rivalry.”
The Terriers have current player Marie-Philip Poulin on the Team Canada roster along with graduates Jenn Wakefield, Catherine Ward and Tara Watchorn.
The Eagles have current player Alex Carpenter on Team USA along with former players Molly Schaus and Kelli Stack.
Will the gold medal game be an omen for the final home-and-home series set for Saturday and Sunday? Choose your sides now.
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About Campus Watch
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.
Rodney McKissic began his journalism career in 1989 after graduating from the University of Cincinnati and has worked for The Buffalo News since 2001. A proud father of four children, he enjoys reading in his spare time.
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.
- College hockey: News, notes, updates from the Atlantic Hockey Playoffs
- Live blog: Sacred Heart at Canisius, Atlantic Hockey Playoffs, 7 p.m.
- Capobianco sets Canisius records, shutout for Teichroeb, and Cribs: The Canisius Hockey Edition
- Live blog at 9 p.m.: Niagara men vs. Quinnipiac in MAAC quarter-finals
- Live blog at 2:30 p.m. Bowling Green at UB basketball
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